Back when I started my career in the late 90s, things were a little different – I didn’t get a laptop and used a pager to learn about work emergencies on the weekends. Although the technology has changed, some things never change. There are 5 lessons I’ve learned throughout my career that I wish someone had shared with me when I was just starting out…
1. Hustle. If you want to get ahead, no doubt you need to work hard. But doing hard work in a vacuum can go unnoticed. You need to share your success, share your results and most importantly – ask for what you want. Have an open relationship with your manager (if you can) about your expectations, about communication, about your passions so he/she can support your career journey.
2. You Are Your CEO. Treat your career like a business. Build your Brand and seek to understand your talents, your passions, and what you have to offer. Build your “Board of Directors” with people who support you. Knowing who you are and having an idea of where you want to go (think short and long-term career goals) is so important. Don’t expect handouts, don’t expect direction – go out and find it.
3. Nurture Your Network. Treat your network like family. Don’t be a person who you only hear from when you need something – help people. Volunteer for projects outside of your team, be open to new ideas, new people, be eager to learn. Find mentors and more important, find sponsors.
4. Don’t Search for Jobs, Create Them. The best roles I’ve had in my career were not found on a job board – they were created by me based on a need I saw in my organization. Be smart and be proactive. Understand your customer and always seek to make their life better.
5. You Can Have It All. It is possible to have a successful career and a successful home life. You need to understand and define your own personal balance in your life. Don’t expect a company to give it to you…set your boundaries otherwise you won’t be happy. If you decide to have children, it isn’t easy right away but it gets better. Do yourself a favor and let go of the guilt. Oh and that stuff Sheryl Sandberg says about an equal partner IS SO TRUE.