It should be obvious by now that guidance is paramount to your career, adulting life, and overall existence. The individual who has had the most noteworthy influence on me so far isn’t a close companion of my mother’s cousin, but instead C. Jay Steigerwald- Co-President of Carey Financial LLC (who also happens to be my uncle).

I was never intimidated by being mentored by a man. Instead, I’ve gained valuable insight from him on how to be assertive and go after what I desire; his commanding yet bold guidance is something that my other mentors cannot provide me with. Additionally, he has also been encouraging my aspirations and pushed me to take a seat at the table when I wasn’t sure if I was ready. These are some of the most important lessons that have made an impact on me thanks to his mentorship:

1. Don’t name numbers first. 

Negotiating can be intimidating, especially considering you could potentially cost yourself a substantial sum of money. Jay has always advised me to remain silent on salary until the employer makes an offer during the hiring process. “Generally, the one to bring up money first loses in the negotiation process,” He imparted the news to me. “If you say you want $50,000, they might have budgeted $75,000 for the hire, and you just left $25,000 on the table.” His words stirred me to contemplate my next course of action, leading me to strategize precisely what I should say during the upcoming negotiation.

2. Make bold moves. 

After completing a job interview, Jay encouraged me to take a moment and express my gratitude. “Thank you for interviewing me. [Insert name], I want this job. What more can I do to convince you I’m the right fit?” With his mentorship, I have discovered the importance of daring to ask for what I desire. After all, it is bold actions that leave a lasting impact.

3. No one likes a novel-length email. 

“Brevity is the soul of wit.” Jay has always preached to me about the power of emails (Who would have imagined that Shakespeare could be beneficial for work?). Taking into account the fact that people don’t have time to read through long emails, I make sure to keep my messages short and accurate (three sentences max) while showing appreciation and cutting out unnecessary information.

4. Ask for what you want. 

I am aware that a point in my professional life may arrive when I will need to make requests for greater flexibility with work hours or days off due to family excursions. Jay has taught me the importance of being polite when asking for something, and that offering an incentive in return increases the chance of a positive response. His words will remain ingrained in my memory forever. “Work hard and make them love you.”

5. Even your idols are human. 

A few years ago, I recall expressing to my uncle “If I ever had the chance to work at Vogue under Anna Wintour, I think I would die. I would be in awe and completely terrified!” In the face of my fear, my uncle calmly responded, “We’re all just people at the end of the day. We all get sick, we all have families, we all screw up, we’re all just people.” His message to me was clear: I should not be intimidated by anyone’s status or reputation. He pushed me to imagine the esteemed professionals I admire doing mundane, unglamorous activities—allowing me to recognize their humanity. The visuals really made it apparent to me that we’re all in the same boat. Each and every day, I use this practical view of life to settle my anxiety before interviewing a noteworthy person for an article or making contact with someone I admire. It is essential to remain courteous and humble, however, I should never let another person make me uncomfortable. We are all equal at the end of the day.

6. Make meaningful connections. 

As part of his position at Carey Financial, Jay frequently presents to groups of hundreds several times annually. He has opened my eyes to the power of forming meaningful relationships and making lasting, advantageous impressions on others. Every time I inquired about public speaking, he’d always reply with the same response. “If you feel comfortable, get up there and share some details. Let them know you.”
My advice? Bring up pets! It never fails to generate conversation and enthusiasm from all kinds of people, since we all love our furry friends.

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