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Rock-It at Work: Figure Out What Makes You Want to be a Workaholic

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Here at Brazen, we’re all about giving you tools to help you move ahead professionally. So we’ve started a new series where we ask awesome people for the single thing that has helped them get ahead at work. We’re starting close to home and for the next few days, we’ll feature advice from members of the excellent Brazen Careerist team. Enjoy!

Name: Whitney May Parker

Age: 31

So what do you do at Brazen?

As vice president of user experience, I’m listening to feedback from all sides to guide and improve your experience on Brazen, as well as improve overall website aesthetics.

What you did before Brazen?

I’ve designed and built websites for a variety of clients as a freelance professional, I’ve held senior management positions in Washington, D.C., in a communications and marketing capacity and I’ve worked as a fellow for a national security research group in New York.

Tell us something unique about you.

One of my first jobs was for the Wilderness Society in Idaho — I had the opportunity to “ground-truth” a proposed off-road trail in a remote area of the state and document potential threats to endemic wildlife and habitats. Translation: I spent three days in a 4×4 pick-up with a photographer friend in one of the most remote areas of the country and took pretty pictures. It was amazing!

What is one thing that has helped you advance in your career?

Love what you do. Love talking about what you do. Love sharing what you do. You can’t compete against other people in your field and really get ahead unless you truly enjoy it and literally have to make yourself stop working and “go home.”  I’ve tried going down a couple career paths where the work didn’t fit and I struggled to want to learn more; in the end I realized that success really starts to “click” when you figure out what that subject is for you, and you just can’t get enough. Figuring out that my true passion was for websites and design helped solve my frustrating experiences of feeling like everyone else knew what they wanted except for me!


Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • Anonymous

    Totally agree! :)

    • http://jwschiff.tumblr.com Jaclyn Schiff

      Me too! I love this advice! Now we just need a tip on how to find what you really love…. is trial and error the best way?

      It’s also pretty cool that Whitney worked with the Wilderness Society in Idaho! I’m constantly in awe of her diverse experience — this just adds another level.

      • Anonymous

        Working with the Wilderness Society was one of my best jobs! The people were wonderful and working in the environmental/advocacy space is really rewarding.

        I agree though figuring out what you love is really the hard part, and for me, it took a lot of time to identify what type of career and what industry I was really well suited for. I enjoy doing so much, it was hard to narrow it down. And I imagine that I will continue to adjust, but at least I’m more confident that I”m heading in the right direction than I was just three or four years ago.

        I don’t know that I would really call my path “trial and error,” because none of the jobs or career paths I’ve started down were “errors.” They just added new skill sets and exposure to different industries, and in the end I’ve built a career that draws on a lot of the experience I’ve had in the 10+ years I’ve worked in professional jobs. I think of those experiences more as building blocks than diversions!

  • Anonymous

    I do think trial and error is a great way to go! Especially because I think what you love to do can change as you move forward in your career, and as new technologies and fields emerge.

  • http://twitter.com/peopledothat Jeff Lovingood

    Trial and error is the PITS!!! I lost 20 years of my life working in and managing jobs that paid the bills. Retail, food service, manufacturing, warehousing, customer service, call centers, purchasing, sales, lots of sales, even salesperson of the year at one place – making lateral move after lateral move is a life I would not wish on anyone.

    This is why I am now dedicated to helping people find their path as early as possible. I focus on working with high school students and young adults to help them maximize any money they spend on college or time they spend working. Too many young people don’t know what they are up against, and it’s time for someone to tell them the truth.

    Maybe if someone who knew how things worked had told me when I was 16 how to apply my skills and interests, I wouldn’t have lost those years.

    • Tiffany

      Jeff, its great that you’ve found something your truly passionate about. I totally agree that there needs to be more honest resources out there for all types of young adults. Not just the ambitious or well off. How do you help the young people of today avoid making too many mistakes or errors?

  • http://www.stefanomiraglia.com Stefano Miraglia

    Hi Jaclyn, are you or your photographer friend sharing any of those pictures in the web? I love wildlife and would be curious to view them. Many thanks.

    Portrait Photographer