One Word of Advice: Tenacity

Throughout the semester, I have listened to a few very empowering speeches and presentations. But, after hearing numerous life stories, career paths and pieces of advice, there is one word to sum up what I have learned: tenacity.

Tenacity is a word I never heard before. What did they mean when they said, “You need to have tenacity,” and how was I going to get some? Of course, I did what any millennial would do, and I looked up the word on Google to have a better idea of what all of these speakers were talking about.Tenacity literally means to be able to grip something firmly, but a more modern definition means being determined or persistent. If you haven’t heard of the word, don’t worry. Also in my Google searches, I learned that the words tenacity and tenacious have gone down in popularity according to the Google Books Ngram Viewer (tenacity’s peak usage in books was around the 1860s).

The background of a word doesn’t matter so much as to how it is being used now, in our current lives and career paths. Women have never been the tenacious type, historically, and it wasn’t until recently that there was a push for women’s equality in higher job positions, especially in the corporate world. But, it is a lot of women that are telling me about their own lives and are giving me the advice to have tenacity and push for my ideas to be heard. They regret not making a stand and sharing their opinions earlier in their careers, and don’t want other young women to make similar mistakes.

The younger generations, however, may feel too entitled; that their ideas are the best, or that they deserve any job that they apply for. Some may argue that the generation of millennials have too much tenacity. It’s great for our generation to get out there and make sure their ideas are being heard. But let’s not assume that every idea is great and that we are the best person for every job.

When it comes to career, it is all about balance. Know when it is appropriate to speak your mind, and when it is appropriate to take a step back and listen to others. Always highlight your achievements and showcase your talents, but don’t be the one that everyone is tired of listening to.

If you are timid in the workforce, which I am most of the time, you have to learn to have tenacity and take a stand for yourself. Don’t be afraid to share a really great idea you have, it might benefit the company or make someone’s job easier. Don’t be afraid to ask for a promotion or a pay raise, when you’re already doing the work of two workers. Remain reasonable and your voice will most likely be heard.

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