Your Most Important Thing

Rarely does anyone feel that they are advancing up the ranks of their current company too quickly. If you do feel this way, please let the community know where you work, and someone will happily take that burden off your plate. The reality is many of us get stuck in a rut from time to time. We end up in our current role past the point of feeling engaged, well beyond where we are learning anything new, and the eventual solution is to apply for other jobs, seeking out something new, somewhere new.

What causes us to end up in this predicament? Is your company too flat or too small with limited opportunities for growth, or does your manager just not like you and isn’t offering you a new learning experience? One factor matters above all else when it comes advancing your career, and it’s YOUR interest in YOUR development. Being good at your current job doesn’t guarantee you anything in the future, except maybe keeping your current job. And even that is no certainty. The average shelf life of your current skills is five years, at that point, you are likely to be replaced by someone cheaper, or a have a computer eat your job.

In my 12 years in the recruiting industry, I have always relied on one thing to help drive my development, and that is my curiosity. How can you ever get to where you want to be if you don’t know your options? When I worked in staffing, the company was massive. Almost a dozen divisions, different national positions, affiliated companies, corporate positions, so on and so on. But for some reason, most people thought there was one path – recruiter, to sales, to director of an office.

This was way too narrow minded for me. Every time someone in any other role came to our office, I wanted to know where they started and how they got there. Not only did I learn about an endless amount of possibilities, but also met a ton of great people as I got to know their stories. I moved divisions, took on training roles, mentor roles, and piloted two divisions. In the not so happy ending of that chapter, I also learned the possibilities didn’t meet what I wanted my life to look like. So, after eight years I moved on.

Next company, next adventure, and a continued addiction to curiosity. Coming in as a recruiter at Accenture, I wanted to know what was out there. But, no one was coming to my office this time because I work 100% remote. How do you meet people in the company when it is so easy to feel on an island or invisible? You must allow your curiosity to carry you out of your comfort zone and start asking the questions. Every person you get a chance to talk to, ask for referrals on who to talk to next. Do side projects to support other teams and learn something new, offer to join a mentorship program, or just ask your boss what you can take off their plate.

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It doesn’t matter your role, your company, or your level within it, curiosity can find you something new and exciting to explore. The more you understand the options around you, the better decisions you can make on where you want to go. And once you have an idea of where that is, don’t keep it a secret, not after all the work you did to figure it out. Talk about it, share it, continue to explore it. The fastest way to reach that goal is with the help of the people around you knowing where you want to be. And if the people around you don’t want to help you succeed, maybe it’s time to look for something new… somewhere new.