Dream big but be ready when the opportunity comes.
In the past 6 years I changed companies, I was promoted a number of times, I received an offer to co-found a new business. And I’ve had a career growth I wouldn’t have dreamt of in my 20′. And all of this without me searching for the new job once.
It wasn’t always like that. For many years I have followed the known path: graduate, get a stable job, work hard and select a career where you know there is a progression, taking one step at a time.
So I started by studying a lot. After graduating from 3 universities at the same time with 3 Bachelor’s Degrees I was tired. 1 year stay in the USA was supposed to be a break time for me before taking the milestone step of getting a grown up job. Well, it turned out to be such an enjoyable break it actually lasted 2 years. I woke up one day looking in the mirror seeing too chillaxed girl. I knew it was time to come back.
I moved back to Poland, landed a very good job in an international company and my career took off. Or so I thought. The first 4 years were absolutely amazing – it was the time of transitions and setting up the new ways of working in the company. I felt like a fish in the sea! My improvement ideas were welcomed, I got promoted after 6 months, took part in multiple projects, travelled to different countries, completed various training programs. The company was investing a lot in me and I did work hard.
The years flew by and I thought it was high time to progress. But something wasn’t right. I followed the pattern but the position I assumed should be the next one on my career ladder didn’t seem quite right for me and my passion was elsewhere. I couldn’t stop but think I haven’t explored all the development opportunities as a trainer and I could sense a real growth was around the corner.
I had to ask myself: what is career progression to me? And is it the same as my personal growth?
My mindset changed. It was no longer about the standard path, career progression seen as jumping from one role into another within ‘expected’ timelines and collecting more ‘important’ job titles. It was about my development and being in the driver’s seat for the ‘continuous learning’ journey. It was a new formula: focus on my personal growth. Don’t get discouraged by setbacks – these happen for a purpose too, learn from them. And don’t be afraid to dream big. But be ready when the opportunity comes.
3 things changed in my approach:
A) Grow consciously and continue to gather experiences – select which tasks get you closer to being where you want to be versus when your energy gets distracted. Whatever you decide to invest your time and energy in – make sure to look at it as a learning opportunity and squeeze it out to the very last drop. And that is even at the times when you can’t choose or you can’t see much potential for learning something new or useful. Trust me, there always is. Be the driver – look for opportunities to do things differently, take on new projects, support new initiatives, stay active, or even better, proactive. Ask yourself simple questions like:
- What did I enjoy about it?
- What did I enjoy least and want to stay away from?
- What have I learned from this experience?
- What skills have I developed?
- What skills do I still need to master?
- How is this experience getting me closer to what I want to do next?
Stop for 2 minutes, reflect, grow consciously.
B) Use the potential of LinkedIn profile – invest time to keep it updated and contribute, comment, like, share!
C) Create resume that makes you stand out and keep it up to date as well.
I followed my passion with a more conscious approach. Few months later a LinkedIn message popped up. A simple question if I would be interested in a job offer.
That was 6 years ago and my career really took off. I have since put behind the pressure of ‘progression’ and I continue to grow on a fast track learning path. I gather experiences, develop new skills. And new jobs come along without me searching.
As Richard Branson says ‘Luck is when preparation meets opportunity’. And whether it is a LinkedIn message with a job offer, your manager giving you a challenge and having 100% trust you can handle it, or it is you having an improvement idea and starting a project. There is plenty of opportunities to grow. And progression will come along.