Why We Shouldn’t Take Career Advice From The Olsen Twins

Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images.
Today, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen opened their first brick-and-mortar store in L.A. at The Grove for their brand, Elizabeth & James. Who What Wear scored an interview with them, and pressed the world's most successful twins for their best career advice. It seems natural to take career advice from these two powerhouses. They were millionaires many times over before they turned 18, and they've only continue to accrue more money in the past 12 years. It's clear they work hard, recognize their strengths and weaknesses, and don't fall for the quick cash grabs (ahem, Fuller House). But for us normal women, who don't have seven-figure bank accounts, is their advice at all relatable? For one, when asked what advice they would give female entrepreneurs, the pair replied with the amazing, "No is a full sentence."
Except that most of the young women reading Who What Wear might not want to spend their time at work saying "no." They might be better served being encouraged to say "yes" — to certain tasks or responsibilities, that is. As a boss, I can certainly say that I'm much happier when I hear a resounding "yes" from an employee. You better have a pretty good reason for saying "no" when I've asked you to do something. Or, are the Olsens talking about "no is my final answer"? In which case, they've just crushed a lot of dreams. Female entrepreneurs are a lot more likely to hear "no" than their male counterparts. If we all took "no" as the final word in business, a lot of amazing women-run companies might never get off the ground. Most of us have to fail before we succeed (Olsens included).
Maybe I'm overthinking all of this, and I shouldn't be so concerned about the real meaning behind career advice from 30-year-old millionaire celebrities. Because even if it's the most amazing advice ever, these sisters are coming from an entirely different world, where they don't have to worry about things like student loan debt, job security, or finding time to do laundry. They might work hard and put in long hours and truly be passionate about what they do, but there is no way they know the struggle of a normal twentysomething trying to grow professionally in hopes of one day being the boss. And that's totally okay. I still respect the Olsens. I love the clothes they design. But next time I need a career pep talk, I'm going to seek out advice from a woman who might be more familiar with my circumstances — someone who actually struggles to balance life and work without the help of a huge salary. Thankfully, I know a few women who fit the bill. I hope you do, too.

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