girl rising book launch crowd

Sly Career Lessons From Fleet Foxes

by Sarah Wilkinson, Class of ’17

Dear Music Lovers,

I have loved Fleet Foxes since my brother gave me one of their CDs in high school. I even used one of their songs as the basis of my graduation speech. But they’re good for more than just a journey through sound (and trust me, it gets strange): their songs actually contain career advice. Of course, it’s a matter of interpretation, but that’s what music is after all.


The message: Life takes us in unexpected directions. Sometimes you end up in places you never expected. You might look back on the person you used to be and wonder, “How did I get here?” It’s all part of the journey. Enjoy it.

Photo by Fleet Foxes

Photo by Fleet Foxes

Bedouin Dress

The message: What goes around comes around. It’s cliche, but it’s true to your career. If you help others by writing recommendations, pointing them in the direction of a job opening, or by showing them kindness, the favor could one day be returned in a big way.

White Winter Hymnal

The message: Sometimes, it’s best not to follow what everyone else is doing. Just because your friends are applying to Google after graduation or moving to California doesn’t mean it’s the best move for you. One of the hardest career lessons to learn is when to say “yes” and “no,” and how to make sure you are the most important consideration in every tough decision. You are your most sacred and valuable asset; don’t forget this.

Ragged Wood

The message: Never forget where you came from, and never let where you came from determine where you’re going. Let your career path be loopy; take the scenic route. Don’t let a career-focus keep you from the other important things in your live like family, friends, social causes, and hobbies.

Battery Kinzie

The message: At some point in your career, you will be a stranger, the new person. You will have to earn the trust of your co-workers by doing your share of the work, by reaching out to them and offering kindness. A new job is a new opportunity with new people, and maybe, for a new you.

Photo by Fleet Foxes

Photo by Fleet Foxes

Helplessness Blues

The message: You are an important piece in the “machine” that makes your company work. Without you, the whole system is thrown off. Remember your value, and remember that you deserve to be valued in your career. If your boss or coworkers don’t appreciate you, it may be worth finding a company of people who will.

Blue Spotted Tail

The message: Ask questions! When you don’t understand why you’re working on something or how your work affects the company, it makes it difficult for you to be passionate about it. Employers would prefer that you ask questions if it means a job well done, and a job you enjoy doing.

Grown Ocean

The message: Never give up on your dreams. It’s cliché, sure, but without something to hope for, how do we keep ourselves going? Your career will take you in many unexpected places, and no matter what, you should bring that dream along with you, even if its shoved in a box somewhere in the attic. You’ll stumble on it one day and who knows, maybe you’ll be ready and able to make it happen.

What career advice is hidden in songs made by your favorite band?