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How long did it take you in order to be in the position you are right now, career wise.

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Nicole’s Answer

Hi Ramiro H. Thanks so much for this great question!

I share with you to consider the meaning of the word "position". Similar to the answer already provided, some people chose to define their career growth by title names. Another way to consider "position" is what individuals have been able to learn with new projects, tasks and/or responsibilities.

For example, I have been a data analyst for many years. Before that, my job title was Network Engineer. But...I still consider myself both. How can that be? I use a lot of my engineering skills and apply my coding skill sets to be a good analyst. In all three of those buckets, skill set development and growth is ongoing (or it should be ongoing in order to grow one's "position").

Because I tend to focus on what new things I am learning, I share with you that the length of time it takes get to a certain position can and does vary depending on what career path a user seeks. Is the individual looking to be super smart is a specific topic or are they seeking to be "a jack of all trades". Both can be useful but it can be difficult to measure in terms of "how long". When it is difficult to measure, it can feel like things are taking too long.

I encourage you to look at your growth as a journey where there are parts where you are on a flat plane (but still moving), other times when you are climbing a mountain and reach a fantastic peak, and maybe other times when you want or need to take a bit of a rest. They can all be helpful in you getting to a point where you are happy with your position.

Hope you find this answer helpful. Best of luck to you!
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Robin’s Answer

Hi, Ramiro
It took me eight years to become a manager where I'm employed. I started as a contractor in 2010, working for seven months. I returned as a contractor for the parent company six months later and was hired as a full-time senior analyst seven months later and have remained in the same area for 10 years. I enjoy the work and the people. My work ethic and the knowledge I have gained over the years led to two promotions before my current position.

My experience as a writer and editor for a local newspaper, and as a communications specialist for a large nonprofit prepared me for the first contract position I landed after being laid off. There will always be some unexpected challenges you'll have to face. It's how you react to those changes that matter. (Do you see them as opportunities or the end of the world?) I never thought I'd be laid off from the kind of job I had but I wasn't upset about it; I was ready to leave so I had a positive outlook.

That experience led me to the position I have now and allowed me to meet many nice people. Remember: It's not always about how fast you get to where you're going. Get all you can at the places/positions you find yourself in while you're there. Understand your strengths and your weaknesses (work on those). There's more to job satisfaction than titles.
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Lisa’s Answer

I studied business and German at university - it was my plan to move to Europe (Belgium/Germany) and become a translator for the UN. Neither of those things happened. I do not consider that a failure to achieve my plan - simply put I found something else that I enjoyed and was successful in....so I went with the flow and here I am today - a senior manager, leading field services globally for an international company - not really linked in anyway to what i studied.

When I left university, to fund my move to Europe (which didn't happen), I took a role in a call centre as a german speaking customer service representative - for 6 months I told myself until I leave - yet I loved it - helping customers, solving problems, using the language I had studied, being part of a team. Then after 3 months I moved into team lead role - leading people to support the customers, dealing with escalations and performance issues - which lead to another step up as operations manager. After 4 yrs of supporting the client, I was offered a job directly with them - and I have been here now 15 years. Each job and position building on my existing skills and experience; each new position challenging me and supporting my development - moving from a regional role to a global role; managing a customer facing team or a more internal focused team; taking on a role in a totally different area; taking on stretch assignments to further broaden my knowledge.

Success looks different to different people - for some it is the name of the role or position, for some its the opportunity to keep learning; for some its having the chance to make a difference. Having a role you enjoy and are passionate about makes a big difference!

It's been 20 years since I left university and I haven't looked back - I am looking forward to see what my next experience is going to be!

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Reid’s Answer

I graduated university 7 years ago with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Materials and Manufacturing Engineering. I remember thinking at the time how my degree was going to define the rest of my career. I started in research & development doing very technical work. I then moved further into research and started applying my knowledge of statistics.

I wanted to try working at a larger, more established company and started as a manufacturing engineer. In that role I had a mix of technical engineering work and continued to incorporate statistics and data. I was transferred to a project manager role where I learned a lot about strategic project planning, successful implementation and general big picture problem solving. I am now an Analytics Manager working with data full time.

What I learned to value are transferable skills. Developing skills that are not just specific to my current role but things I can take with me moving forward and apply them in different types of work and industries. I see my career as continuous journey. Constantly learning and developing. There are so many different jobs and positions that I didn't even know existed until I was in the industry working and talking to other professionals about their career journeys.
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Renate’s Answer

Hi Ramiro H.,
Let me tell you a little bit about my story, and hopefully that helps answer your question: I started my career a long time ago in Technical Support at a big Software company, and was very successful in that role. After some years I took on a completely different position. It turned out that I naturally had the skills that helped being successful in that new position very quickly. And of course everything I had learned until then came quite handy. So it wasn't so much about how long I was in that position, but more did that position fit my skills and passions.
Fast forward some more years, and I took on a management position, and really enjoyed managing people and helping them grow. Again, I found success wasn't about how long I was in that position, but whether it fit my skills and passions.
Fast forward more years. Just ~4 months ago, I left that management position, and am doing something different yet again, which I thoroughly enjoy and brings a lot of value to my company. And you probably can guess what I'm going to say: success again wasn't about how long I was in that position, but all the skills I acquired over the years, the things I'm naturally good at and passionate about.
The moral of the story: Don't worry so much about how long it'll take to get to a certain position, and consider more what you're good at, what you're passionate about, and how you can use both to bring value to the place you want to work for.
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Padmapriya’s Answer

Hello Ramiro,

Great question.
Let me tell share my career journey. I started my career as Analytic Associate, then within 2 years I was promoted to Analytic Consultant. Within next two years I got double promotion and moved to Process Lead. Now I am a People manager. I own both technical and people skills. I am very passionate about working with people and exploring new ideas with my team. It is not about the position, it is about our enriching experience and the skills that we acquire and keep us uptodate in whichever field we are. It is also about our hard work/smart work to get our aspirations fulfilled. Coming out of comfort zone is very important.

Learning never exhausts the mind. “The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.”

All the Best!!
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Jeremy’s Answer

Hello! I am finally financially and day to day happy with my career. I am 10 years into the grind. Now, I am not saying that 1- you will take 10 years or 2- I didn't like where I was, however, it takes time to really be comfortable with what you do and see. You will have careers that you will see and hear other perks and advantages. You will move, its allowed. Don't fall into the sigma of staying so it looks good, for mental health is a big component towards being successful. Avoid gaps in coverage as best you can, but if you feel for any reason, the title isn't the best, don't hesitate to explore your options
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Stacey’s Answer

Hi Ramiro,

I am currently a Manager for a compliance team in the health insurance industry. It took me 9 years of experience before taking on my leadership role. I started as a contractor for the company and then became an employee. From there, I moved up in positions over the years, within the same team, learning and gaining knowledge as I went. Make sure you show initiative and don't be afraid to speak up.

There is more to being a leader than just the title. The best thing you can do is learn the ins and outs of the business and become a subject matter expert in order to help the company achieve their overall corporate goals.

Let your expertise speak for itself! Good luck!
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Jessica’s Answer

Currently, I am a Manager of Operations in the Health Insurance industry. It took about 8 years of experience to get this experience and I had to make a few lateral moves to gain experience and knowledge to prepare me for this position. One of the most misconstrued ideas is that in order to be successful you have to move up or get a leadership title and that simply isn't true. Being a student of your profession is by far the best tactic for providing value to your company and the promotions come naturally.
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Cheyenne’s Answer

Hello!

I am currently a Manager of Operations working for a major health insurer. Overall, it has taken me about 6 years to get to the position I'm in now. I initially started as an intern before moving into a contractor role. I was hired in after 2 years as an individual contributor and 4 years later became a manager. In my experience, making connections and keeping an open mind to new opportunities was key. Best of luck to you!
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Lindsey’s Answer

It took me 6 years to get to the role of Technical Project Manager. The most important factors that led me here were:
1) Motivation to do the work I was assigned well
2) Learning new things that would help lead me to this role
3) Connecting with people who were in roles I was interested in who could offer solid advice how to advance my career
4) Having confidence in the value of my work
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Darrin’s Answer

Hello there! Let me tell you about my winding career path! As a TL;DR...this is the summary first!

A. 4 years at a university (SF Bay Area)- switched from Mechanical Engineer to Chemical Engineer with focus in Biotechnology
B. 6 years IT consulting (SF Bay Area) - decided NOT to do anything related to Chemical Engineering
C. 1 year entrepreneur/chef/coffee shop manager (Singapore) - RANDOM but super rewarding and fun career detour
D. 6 years Product Manager of travel tech company (SF Bay Area) - found my passion during one of my consulting projects
E. 3 months Product Manager of banking (SF Bay Area) - NOPE NOPE NOPE...thus only 3 months
F. Currently 2 weeks in for Product Manager of tech company - love it so far!
Total = 17 years since high school...but every step was fun and exciting. I've learned so much about myself (strengths, weaknesses, passions, dislikes) and it really isn't about "where I am" but more "where am I going to go".

Detailed Story Below - Get a cup of coffee or two!

University (4 Years)
I started off wanting to be a doctor but also wanted my major to be practical (meaning I can come out and earn a decent salary with a Bachelors degree). I chose Mechanical Engineering as my first major to get into the engineering department but realized that I loved Chemical Engineering more. I really hated physics with a passion so I switched into Chemical Engineering in my 1st year. After 3 summers of doing different science lab internships, I knew that I wasn't made for wearing a lab coat or running a pharmaceutical manufacturing process. I was very social, loved working on different projects, and always pursued the next challenge/problem to solve. After careful consideration, I applied to a bunch of consulting companies and got into an IT consulting one. Consulting companies don't necessarily look for a specific major...but they want people that are quick learners, problem solvers, and people persons. Awesome choice for an indecisive college grad!

Key lesson: It is OK to change your mind as long as you are heading towards a goal! (Even if the goal is to learn more about what you want to do)

IT Consulting (6 years)
This IT consulting firm was a great transition from college. Many of the new hires were college grads from all over the United States and we were all excited and energetic type A people. (Consulting is when Company ABC needs help and hires Consulting Firm XYZ to do it. Sometimes it is to assess business strategies, sometimes it is to "augment" their workforce, sometimes it is to audit Company ABC's departments/processes.) I was assigned to different projects and different "clients" which was intimidating as a 22 yr old college grad but allowed me to learn from very experienced professionals. During this time, I worked with many people (normal employees, managers, and even VP + C-level individuals). Consulting was great because I learned about what I liked and what I didn't like...what I wanted to be and not. This is where I actually found my passion to become a product manager. I wanted to actually "own" and be responsible for a product and make that amazing for users/customers. I wanted to solve the problems and frustrations of users and bring joy/delight.

Key lesson: Always learn from your experiences. Hate your job? Learn what type of manager you DON'T want to be. Watch people and find people you admire and respect.

Coffee Shop in Singapore (1 year)
After consulting, I had the opportunity to help a relative manage his coffee shop franchise in Singapore. This was a great opportunity to apply my consulting skills and live in Asia! I started by learning the coffee shop business from the ground up: being the busboy, brewing coffee, making food...then ordering inventory, managing the profit/operational costs, adjusting marketing/pricing! At the end, my coffee shop had an 40% increase in revenue and I was very proud of myself. However, the food/restaurant business was not for me....lots of long hours with very little return. After a year, I decided to come back to San Francisco.

Key lesson: Take risks and step out of your comfort zone!

Product Manager (7+ years) - Where I am now!
From my consulting days, I found my passion to be a product manager. I had to curate my resume to focus on the skills/experiences that would show companies that I was a fit for that role. Because of past clients in the hospitality industry, I was able to snag my first PM role at a travel tech company (something similar to Expedia/Booking.com). I met so many wonderful people and grew into a strong people manager that I am today. There were definitely some detours like when I went into banking but I hated it. 16 hour days were not for me and there was so much red tape in order to do anything. Now, I'm at a great new company in an industry that is not travel. I expect to continually learn and make a big impact while having lots of fun doing it. I believe this is where I'm being called to further develop my career!

Key lesson: Be thankful, be genuine, be persistent.

17 years of changing my mind and exploring different career paths may seem like a lifetime but it really isn't. Each step of the way, I've met amazing people, learned new things, and have achieved things that I'm very proud of. Don't be discouraged or overwhelmed...take it one step at a time. I'll leave you with a quote from a role model of mine, Walt Disney: "The best way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."





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