In your career, most days you’ll get up at nasty o’clock, hit the snooze, maybe hit it again, then haul yourself out of your sack because you need to get to work. You’ll then spend the vast majority of your day in your work domain, and at times, it will be a lot longer than expected. You’ll do this, on average, for the best part of 365 days per year. Sounds daunting, doesn’t it!
If it doesn’t feel right, don’t get attached to this type of regime. Some people do this because it feels ok, others may not have a choice. That comfort zone can sometimes be the enemy of finding your true vocation or finding a career that you really thrive on. You will reap the rewards in the long run, it’s not easy, but if you aim a bit higher and are prepared to put in the hard work to get there.
This may sound like an obvious statement, but what you do with your own career is entirely up to you. Just ensure that it is what you really want. No one else can truly empathise with your own motivations and aspirations, and what makes you tick inside. Not even your parents can see into those deep crevasses of your character. Most of all, it matters what you think deep down, not just on the surface. The only way to navigate through your career, or life for that matter, is to have your own compass. Then, if you want to know if you are on track, you only have yourself to refer to. Your instinct will tell you if it’s right or wrong.
A very good friend of mine built a brilliant career in accountancy. She reached the dizzy heights of being in a well-paid, senior role, but felt hollow inside. Her passion was in another field – fashion, but felt scared to make the break because her career was what people expected her to do. One day, she’d had enough of the excessive hours and bureaucracy, and gave it all up. The next 12 months were a hard slog, but she built her new business through sheer hard work and determination. Whilst she may not have the kudos of being in a high profile role, her life is 100% richer.
A good piece of advice at the early stage of your career is to try different things. Experience different business environments. When you try different things, new doors open that you never knew existed and you’ll meet new people. If you’re prepared to take a risk, you’ll add strength to your commercial skills and boost your confidence. Another piece of advice is to never pass up the chance of an interview or career move, because of an idle rumour or a preconceived notion of an employer. Do not fall into this trap, follow your own instincts. It is prudent, however, to listen to sound, practical advice from someone you trust, but not gossip.
We have recruited for many companies over the years, and it’s fair to say, each one has its own unique culture, ethos, and temperament. Some may have a reputation for being unique market leaders, and others may have a beast of a reputation. Be open to meeting a different range of companies – see and meet new people, get out of your comfort zone.
Understand what’s important to you
Do take on board that every industry, job, and profession has some ramifications – some are good, some are downright ugly. Do avoid the last one by the way! The things that you need to weigh up are the things that are important to you. Is it the quality of people around you, the working environment, or the opportunities for growth and the career path? Picture yourself two years down the line, if you can see genuine progression and development, then don’t pass it up. It’s best to move out of your comfort zone. Your confidence will grow, you’ll stretch your horizons, and you’ll find it easier to feel fear and do it anyway!
Salary vs Prospects
Money is important too, and we’re not being shallow here. It’s only fair that you’re rewarded for what you do. Of course, money isn’t everything, health and happiness carry far more weight, but it does help, so don’t be short-changed. You may not get everything you want in your first career move, and the money may not afford you that trip around the southern islands of Thailand, but if it offers sound prospects and longevity, it may worth biting the bullet for that first year and then re-evaluate.
Once you’ve got your feet under the table, proving your worth, and adding value, make sure your boss knows about it. I’ve seen many people languish on a slow career ladder for years wondering why people get promoted in front of them, when the reason is quite simply that you aren’t bringing your endeavours and successes to your boss. In this modern world, most bosses don’t have time to wonder what each team member is up to, so if you’ve done something great, stick it under the nose of your boss!