Looking for advice on how to make a big career decision, ask for what you want at work or get back to doing what you love?  There’s a TED talk to inspire you into action.

We’ve curated a list of some of the most inspirational (and practical) TED talks by women on career issues ranging from knowing your worth at work to saying yes to doing what you love, returning from a break, flexible work options and how to make hard career choices. Here’s our pick of the best TED career talks by women, for women.


1. Casey Brown: The Importance of Knowing Your Worth and Asking For It

Are you being paid what you’re worth, or just what your company thinks you’re worth? If you’ve ever felt unvalued at work (in dollars and other ways), pricing consultant Casey Brown explains how to overcome imposter syndrome and understand your true value. Her tips on clearly communicating your worth in the workplace by changing your employer’s thinking will help you to get paid for your excellence.

2. Shonda Rhimes: My Year of Saying YES to Everything

Shonda Rhimes is a multi talented screenwriter and author who went on a year long mission to say ‘yes’ to life.  Yes to presenting in public, yes to being honest in her personal and professional relationships, yea to new opportunities that took her out of her comfort zone. 

Along the way, Shonda learnt the power of saying ‘no’ without feeling like she had to justify her response. ‘No is a full sentence’ she told Oprah recently. Turns out when we get really clear on what we want to say yes to (even if it scares the hell out of us!) it makes saying no to the things that drain us, much easier.


3. Carol Fisherman Cohen: How to Get Back To Work After A Career Break

Re-entering the workforce after an extended career break can be daunting, especially if you’re not sure what you want do to. In this talk, Carol Fisherman Cohen guides you through how to explain your career gap on your resume and how to relaunch your career successfully. Starting with working out what you really enjoy doing,

Carol shares tips on how to make your new career goals a reality through strategies such as volunteering and return to work internships. Carol’s own story of being a 40 year old intern will inspire any woman wanting to relaunch their career.

4. Susan Redden Makatoa: Flexible Working Should Be The Norm For Everyone

 Susan Redden Makatoa shares a statistic that shows how much women are still doing the ‘heavy lifting’ when it comes to childcare.  Only 4% of Australian Dads of under 5 year olds work part time. Whilst the right to ask for flexible work has been enshrined in legislation, it is mainly women to ask for these work arrangements. Research also shows that if men do request flexibility they are more likely to be turned down by their employer.

Susan is on a mission to change this by convincing us that flexible work is great for everyone. To further the case for flexibility, she highlights companies who have embraced flexible work arrangements and consequently seen an increase in both employee satisfaction and productivity.

5. Ruth Chang: How To Make Hard Choices

 How do you make a big career decision? How do you choose between two job opportunities? Ruth Chang is philosopher and an expert on making tough choices. According to her, you must first work out what is important in the choice, between the competing alternatives. Once you know what’s most important to you, commit to one of the options and over time you will create your new identity.  This powerful talk in which Ruth shares her complete framework for making hard choices will help you shape your career and your whole life.

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