Carole recommends the following next steps:
Pick a career that will gratify you! Pick a career that will make you happy and at the end of my career I can always say, "I really liked my job! I liked to go to work every day." It wasn't always rainbows and unicorns, but it really was gratifying.
I am a Field Marketing Manager at a software company but before that I was in Customer Success, PR, Sales and Marketing. The most rewarding part about the professional path I have taken is that I have seen the full scope of what it looks like to be in different roles in a company. A Customer Success Manager has different goals, objectives and outlook on the company's needs than a Field Marketing Manager or Sales person does so being able to have a part in different areas of the company has been really insightful and has helped me understand my co-workers on a cross functional level more efficiently.
Looking back, I would give the advice to try different roles and when unique opportunities come by, make sure to take them!! I make sure to always push myself outside of my comfort zone and that has proven to be more beneficial than not. You learn a lot about yourself once you are not in your normal environment.
Here are my nuggets of advice for finding a rewarding career path:
- Take opportunities that come your way but also create opportunities for yourself by volunteering for every and any projects that need an owner.
- Find your passion. No one talks about how hard it is to find a career that you are passionate about but if you try different avenues of work and see what peaks your interest the most!
- Find a mentor/role model that you look up to and can seek advice from. When people used to tell me to look for a mentor, I would think that I formally needed to ask someone to be my mentor and ask them formal questions but that is a myth! Your teacher, parents, friends, etc. can be your mentors in different areas of your life and they will give you guidance and support when you need it most.
- Never doubt yourself, EVER! You are just as capable if not more than the next person. GO FOR IT!
- Network, Network, Network
- Build genuine relationships with your co-workers.
- Showing up is the most important part.
- Lastly, remember we are all humans and are more similar to each other than we realize. No one is better than you are or less than.
Rather than climbing the corporate ladder, I've worked to find personal satisfaction and feelings of accomplishment and contentment, and that's what leads me in certain directions for my career. An old boss advised me to think about what parts of my day make me the most happy and then optimize for that. That's led me to interesting directions, and to the idea that a "career" isn't this linear path, and it's ok to change your mind and be flexible with where life takes you.
As an example, I have degrees in English Lit and Art. But I now work in technology, because it's very fast moving and it's more casual than other, more established industries. I like being able to wear jeans to work and swear if I want to! I started working in tech support but felt it was too reactive, and now i oversee a bunch of systems and trainings as the technical person on a less technical team. And that may change again eventually, and that's ok!
Good luck :)
The professional path I have taken hasn't been linear. I studied philosophy as an undergraduate, began my career in project management at boutique pharmaceutical and motor vehicle advertising agencies, continued on as a project manager for an IT company, and have since moved to my current role as a customer success manager for a cloud software company that produces identity and access management products.
Deviating from a structured career path and performing different roles across different industries offered me opportunities to:
- Learn standard professional skills under a variety of conditions (different managerial styles, corporate cultures, final product expectations, software platforms)
- Learn how to adjust my communication style to be best received and best collaborate with different teams, team members, clients, and executives in service of problem-solving and meeting business objectives
- Translate skills from one industry to another
- Identify where I have gaps in my training or proficiency
- Gain confidence in my ability to be flexible, resilient, receive feedback, and learn quickly
Had I been set on a final goal or career at an earlier point in time, I might not have been open to workplaces and experiences that placed me in scenarios that I had not yet encountered. I have accumulated a set of skills that I can now put to work with greater self assurance. And in my current role, those skills are in service of providing value to our customers and to my teammates internally. I could not be happier with the job I perform now and the opportunities ahead of me at my workplace. To date, that is the ultimate reward of my professional path.
For me, the most rewarding thing about all the professional jobs that I have is all the translating skills that I have from one job to another that leads me to the final career that 1) fits all of my skills 2) aligns with my personal values and brings me satisfaction from helping others.
I was majoring in Marketing during my college years. I took 2 Marketing internships at 2 different companies, but then realized that Marketing was not for me. I took all the skills I learned from Marketing (building Powerpoint, looking at data) and applied for an Office Manager job right out of college - just because I want to try a different path of Operations as I want to try to work in a field with people interaction and improving the process efficiency. In that job, I used Powerpoint as a way of communication for my ideas, and organized different events for the companies. I used my data analysis skill to figure out how much snacks should be ordered for the month to reduce waste. After a year of working as Office Manager, I know what I want to focus more on - and that is team coordination. I applied to be a Junior Administrative Assistant because this gives me exposure to many other teams and how each team work together. I used my event organizing skill from the Office Manger job, and my organizational mind to support multiple VPs. Those experiences are very rewarding to me, because I can both use what I have learned from previous job, and learn new skills to get further in my career. The more I go, the more I figure what my true path is. All you have to do is take risks and learn from the job of what you like / don't like. Hope this helps! :)
I am fortunate that my company provides so many amazing training opportunities that support my learning and growth. I have received numerous certifications that has really helped me strengthen my skills. From communication to leading teams, creating training content and understanding networking. I have learned so much and been given much opportunities to develop myself. I have taken those opportunities to build and mentor my peers and everyone I come in contact with as I certify them to be better leaders, trainers and employees.
I feel empowered each day that I get up and start working. I have the freedom to lead myself and my team how I want and in ways that are specific to us. I feel trusted by my leadership team and supported. They provide me with additional opportunities for growth and advancement and that makes a huge difference!
For me, the most rewarding thing to look for in a career path is opportunity for growth. Find something that is interesting to you and that has a lot of opportunity to learn, to support change, to help drive change, etc. Staying stagnant and doing the same things over and over is SO BORING. Find a role/company/path that challenges you to change and grow and drive change/growth in the organization as well.