Career Advice: The First Step On Your Path to Professional Success? Treat Everyone With Respect

Below, Phillip shares more career advice, a peek into her morning routine, and her workday essentials. 

Glamour: What’s your typical morning routine?

Abby Phillip: My daughter is 15 months old, so the morning kind of belongs to her. We get up and my husband and I make coffee. We sort of take turns on who makes the coffee and who makes the bottle. It’s kind of our family time; from 6:00 a.m. to around 7:30 a.m. or so, we hang out as a family. Things are very busy all the time, so it’s usually one of the few times that we really get to have alone time. But once my daughter is with our nanny, that’s when I start to work. It’s usually calls, and I’m getting dressed while those things are happening.

What was your first childhood dream job?

I think I wanted to be a teacher until I was in high school. My dad was also a teacher, so I guess I was a little biased. I loved the idea of having a classroom and being able to set rules.

What was the moment you realized, “Okay, I might actually be successful…”

It was the first time that anyone ever approached me to hire me. It was The Washington Post. So I think that was the moment that I realized, “Okay, maybe I do know what I’m doing. And maybe I might actually make this journalism career thing work.” I think that would be the beginning of me feeling a sense of confidence in my career trajectory and the work I was doing.

How do you deal with rejection in your field?

You keep trying. I’ve learned that you can’t take it personally, and you have to realize that sometimes you’re not the right person for the opportunity. Maybe people are rejecting you because it’s not the right moment for them to engage with you. And then, sometimes if you just try again and keep going, it works out. And sometimes, when things don’t work out, they just weren’t meant to be.

I experience rejection often, and rejection comes in a lot of different forms. As a journalist, I reach out to people all the time, and they don’t respond to me, or they tell me no. Or, professionally, within my workplace, I sometimes don’t get opportunities that I think I deserve. Or I’m just told no, or I can’t do this or can’t do that. And, really, the key is just to keep going.

What’s the most valuable career lesson you’ve learned through experience?

That sometimes your highest highs are accompanied at almost the same time by your lowest lows. You have to recognize that those low moments are just part of the same journey. As you celebrate the highs, keep in mind that those lows can also be instructive.

When I moderated a presidential debate in the 2020 campaign, it was probably the highest high in my career up until that point. But when you’re in the spotlight like that, you’re also the subject of a lot of scrutiny. So that was also a moment where I experienced some really sharp and very hurtful criticism. I think having both of those experiences at the same time was incredibly difficult but really instructive. You have to learn to celebrate your wins but also to learn from and become more resilient as a result of what might feel like a low for you. A “low” is really just part of your own personal journey. It gives your life a little bit more texture and a little bit more depth. I think that I emerged a lot tougher.

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