I’ve worked for, or consulted with, many companies and have been blessed to meet many people along the way. One thing I’ve noticed about people younger in their career that I didn’t notice when I was there is the need to know and understand one’s entire career progression.
“Kids these days,” as they say, seem very intent on seeing roadmaps and paths so they can follow them like a set of Lego directions. To many of them, their career is more like a checklist where things are accomplished to check a box and show the boss that it’s time for the next step versus an unpredictable and exciting journey that presents many opportunities to be pursued (or ignored and regretted later…).
There seems to be a search for certainty and security where none exists. And the cost of that search is the excitement, self-confidence, and career progression that comes from simply doing your best at everything you do, keeping your eyes open for opportunities, and trying, succeeding, and failing as fast as you can, at as many things as you can.
I’ve been asked, especially in my capacity as manager, to dispense career progression advice, and I’ve really only been able to come with one thought that applies to everyone: Come into your career with a point of view.
Whatever job you take, take it with a point of view. Have a way of doing things. Have a lens or filter through which you digest information and make decisions.
As your career progresses, that point of view will evolve as you encounter new, never before considered information. Throughout your journey, you’ll encounter all sorts of new and unpredictable people with ideas and worldviews nothing like your own.
When you do, be sure to road test your point of view against their new information with an open mind and understand your view will evolve as it competes against new, and possibly better information.
Have the open mind necessary to incorporate new information into your existing worldview or completely blow up what you think you know when better data presents itself.
As you do this, you will become more experienced, have deeper and more diverse perspectives, and achieve new levels of wisdom; all of which will make you more and more valuable as you go.
There are many people to do any corporate job. Anyone can learn and execute a search marketing campaign. But I’d rather hire the person who can do that and bring unique perspective and experience to the role that will allow you to see things more holistically.
If you’re new in your career, or even at later stages, enjoy the people and the challenges. Don’t worry about the next step. Do the step you’re in now to the best of your ability and be aware of the lessons you’re learning. That will guarantee the progression that is best for you.