All Articles Tagged "career development"
During my last two years at the Missouri School of Journalism, I learned some interesting things about media careers. The lesson that made the most impact: hierarchical promotion is not a thing. In fact I saw that in practice with my mentors, who often had to change companies or departments to move through the ranks or otherwise be caught in parallel reassignments. It seemed cruel — magazine-hopping to reach the ultimate career status. But after having my title changed three times in under two years, I have a new understanding of the practicalities of promotion.
The summer following my graduation from college I got a phone call from a high school friend. Our relationship during the past five years had been sketchy at best — mostly congratulatory tweets when something good happened. But we’d remained easily amiable and had landed in the same field, so when this young award-winning, Twitter-verified journalist invited me to be part of her new venture, I agreed.
At the launch of the new media platform, I was declared Deputy Editor. I oversaw the most timely news section, set up a copy flow for the section editors and generally supported the Editor-in-Chief who still had a full-time job. At the time, I was working just part-time and it made more sense to funnel content through me. But six months later, I was working full-time as well and the site was approaching a temporary shutdown for an essential redesign. Just before we relaunched I received several emails and a phone call that ultimately ended in a reassignment. During the course of executive communications, my comments had become more business-oriented and, as such, so would my role.
Becoming Managing Editor was not actually a promotion. In fact, my spot among the executives didn’t move at all. No one replaced me at the deputy level and direct reports stayed the same. But now rather than managing the content, I was managing the editors. My new duties focused on driving editors to schedule content to make the startup more viable to investors.
And things continued change. As the direction of the site became more focused so did the roles of the staff. The founder was discovering new things about what needed to be done and less than a year later we dialed into another long talk about the company. Somehow, at the end of the conversation my role shifted again. Although still very much a media neophyte, my concerns are always effective dissemination of content, workflow and separation of editorial and marketing strategy. Playing to my strengths and interests I was made Publisher.
This elevation was not a pat on the back for good service or dedication to her vision. As any ambitious entrepreneur should, she promoted me to reap the benefits of what she already saw. It was a pragmatic decision. My title grows with my skill set. It’s earned. And it’s better than adding senior to something I’ve already been doing because it shows the role is something different. All I have to do is meet the expectations.
For employees who find that their manager is in a similar age range and showing no signs of leaving anytime soon, you’ll need to think creatively to find ways to craft your own opportunities for upward movement. Here are some strategic steps to orchestrate your own push forward:
Identify the pain in your organization- Look at your company through a wide lens. What are the issues you see that you believe you can help to correct? Identify the ways you are uniquely suited to solve the problems from your current position.
Build a plan- Take the initiative to write a business plan for a new role, department, or service you could lead. Keep the role, department, or service in line with your company’s goals and be sure to expound upon how the addition will benefit them in the long-run.
Communicate with key players- Don’t suddenly burst on the scene with reams of papers stating the issues in the company or a new role you’ve cooked up. Instead be sure to speak with important people, with whom you are comfortable, letting your intentions to move up in the company be known. Gain their support in order to have additional collateral when presenting your ideas.
Although it will take persistence and creativity to spot an issue and come up with a viable solution that utilizes your various skills, if you are hungry for that shift, stay confident in your ability to make it happen. Keep in mind that your ideas may not result in an immediate promotion. You may work informally on the task at first, but stay encouraged. If the idea has value it will take off and you’ll be rewarded in the end.
Traditionally the way to the top has been illustrated as a simple vertical ladder, but this picture is shifting. In Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, for example, the idea of a jungle gym was introduced, showing how lateral movements can also push your career forward.
The recession has also caused a change to the usual corporate ladder. With the hierarchies of many companies flattening out, mid-level positions disappear into thin air, eliminating the rungs you thought you needed for your climb to the top.
Ultimately, if you don’t begin “thinking sideways” you may find yourself stuck on your current rung indefinitely. When looking to make lateral moves you’ll want to be sure it makes sense. Without careful planning side-moves can easily devolve into a hapless merry-go-round. You’ll want to plot your career plan to ensure that each move is truly moving you closer to your ultimate goal.
Try envisioning your next “up” move then reverse-engineering the qualifications you’d need to make that a reality. Are you lacking hands-on operational experience to get to that next step? Do you have all the working knowledge of a relevant piece of technology? As you look at the skills required for your next-step and compare them to what you currently have it will be far easier to see the gaps that a lateral move can fill.
In order to obtain some of the skills you’re looking for you may want to look at strategic volunteering. While it can be difficult to find the time for volunteer projects during your full-time career responsibilities, volunteering is a great way to rapidly expand your network of influencers and to pick up any business skills you need. Your final goal is to transition to an assignment that continues to build your business skills once your credibility has been established.
I have been to many a women’s conference where a central hot topic has been charging attendees with the task of defining success on their own terms. The logic goes as follows: once a woman identifies her own measures of success, she will live in accordance with them, and essentially have a happier, more fulfilled life.
I was at an event this weekend and had the pleasure of grappling with the concept—the act of defining success. I grappled with the concept because I was confused.
To be clear, I was not cognitively confused by the call to action. As women, we have to figure out what our values are, what our interests are, what our passions are, and then move in the direction of one, if not all of them.
Rather, I was confused by the rationale and validity of the exercise. I mean, how could I definitively know what success may mean for me five or 10 years in the future based on what I value now? Wouldn’t I be a different person?
At the conference, I stood behind a woman who appeared to be in her 40s who openly told me that she was voluntarily unemployed because she had yet to figure out what she wanted out of life. But I wondered if she were being fair to herself. Maybe she had outgrown her former measures of success and was in the process of identifying her new ones That is how measures of success roll. They evolve, predicated and are informed by experience.
In my 20s, I wanted to explore the world. So I did. My measure of success focused on getting as many stamps as I could on my passport.
When I got tired of travel and exploration, my measure of success became money and career. Period. I worked as a teacher and any other position that would bring me money to pay off debt, to buy stuff, and to prepare for my retirement. Money and career have been my measures of success for a while now, but I already feel my definition of success shifting.
Kara’s “Era of the Hustle” is coming to an end.
I am not the first to jump at opportunities to work overtime on the weekends anymore. Instead, I want more free time to pursue my personal interests, my entrepreneurial goals, and deepen my relationships with my family, current friends, and friends yet-to-be made.
And so goes the cycle.
I left the conference a little early. I had a chance to sit in a sushi spot, read, eat and people watch. After a little while, I spotted that same forty-something woman walking by with a companion engrossed in some type of conversation. It looked pretty deep. As she passed by, I wondered if any of those discussions helped her realize that she did not need a definite answer to that question. The meanings of success come and go and most definitely have expiration dates.
Kara is a life coach, motivational speaker, author, and founder of The Frugal Feminista, an online home created to inspire and inform women of color about financial empowerment, girl power, and “juicy” living. Connect with Kara @frugalfeminista. Learn more about The Frugal Feminista at www.thefrugalfeminista.com
There are certain things successful people have in common. They stick to certain principles, mix in discipline and consistency and ultimately find themselves exactly where they want to be. It’s never a surprise that they have reached a level of success because every day they are aware of the hard work and focus that precipitated their meteoric rise to the top.
Let these tips become the principles with which you mix discipline and consistency. Be sure and wave to the “little people” as you go by.
Take Initiative. Be more involved in any difficulty your colleague or boss encounters. Let them know you are willing to take on extra (yet reasonable) work in order to help. Keep in mind that a leader is someone eager to go above and beyond his or her domain and help others when they need it. Stand out by showing that you not only work for the company but that you belong with the company. Taking initiative shows you are there to work in the company’s best interest.
Always be prepared. Are there training modules or a presentation you need to have ready for staff meetings? You want to be sure that any presentations or materials you create indicate the time and energy you put into it. A good presentation helps you stay focused on your agenda and shows your boss that you’re serious, not to mention knowledgeable, about the information.
Be responsible. Your boss is looking for responsible employees. Take care of not just the responsibilities assigned to you, but also those that you take on yourself. If you find yourself struggling with a certain task, be the person who stands up and admits the issue. More important than a synthetically perfect employee is one willing to bear the consequences of shouldering his or her responsibilities.
It is a long-held belief that persistence is a key factor in making any dream a reality. And the basis of persistence is willpower.
Many people are ready to throw their dreams in the garbage at the first sign of opposition or misfortune. Being able to carry on despite opposition, from even your nearest and dearest, is what usually separates the 95 percent from the 5 percent.
The first question is: How much do you want it, really? Weak desire will naturally bring about weak results. Once you’re sure you’ve set your sights on what you truly want, you’re next step will be snapping out of mental inertia. Start by moving slowly, setting small goals that are easily achievable. Then increase your speed and the size of your goals until you’ve gained complete control over a habit of persistence.
Remember, no matter how many times you are knocked down, what counts is finally arriving at the goal or dream you’d set out to attain in the first place. Once there, no one asks how many times you fell. Instead the only words are, “Congratulations, you made it!”
Not Just For The Holidays: National Retail Federation Clip Tells The Story Of A Career Retail Worker
Most people, when they think of working in retail, imagine a part-time job for college students looking to make some money for books, or temporary work around the holidays; something to do for a few weeks to make some extra money and get a discount on gifts.
But there are some people who make a career out of working in retail. That’s the focus of the National Retail Federation’s latest campaign “This is Retail.” On the campaign website, the group (the largest retail trade group in the world) wants to show the depth and breadth of professional opportunity across the retail industry. There are 42 million workers in retail, the NRF says, and not all of those people are “behind a cash register.”
So here we have the story of Claudine McKenzie, who says she started at Walmart when she was three months pregnant with her first child. After 17 years of winding her way through a number of stores and up the chain of command, she’s a store manager working towards a Master’s degree. Besides offering a glimpse at what’s possible in retail, the clip also acts as a bit of a love letter to Walmart — she refers a couple of times to the “support” she got from the retailer during both her pregnancies — who usually figures much more negatively when the talk turns to how they treat their employees.
Have you ever considered a career in retail? Does this clip make you think of retail differently?
You have been an administrative assistant or entry-level employee for a few years and now you’re ready to progress in your career. You have the drive, the enthusiasm and the motivation, but do you have the criteria needed to advance to a mid-level position?
Here are a few factors to determine whether you are ready to take the next step up the corporate ladder to a mid-level career.
When you’re growing your career and power-climbing up the corporate ladder there is no guarantee of how far you’ll get or how fast you’ll get there. But there are a few things that are guaranteed to topple you right off your corporate tower. Here are a few tips on what not to do if you’re aiming to succeed:
Don’t Get Distracted – Even when inundated with papers in your inbox, it’s important to maintain the power of focus. Trying to get everything done at once, or taking on too much in an effort to impress the higher ups will only backfire. You are better off prioritizing the things that need to be done and tackling the three most important things, ensuring that you give each the proper focus throughout the day. And on a bigger scale, keep your eyes on the prize. Each day is one more opportunity to move up a rung.
Don’t Forget the Humans – Yes it’s a “ladder,” but while climbing never forget that you may need the occasional boost to reach the next rung. Being so determined to reach the top that you start believing you don’t need any help from anyone is exactly the sort of thinking that will keep you from your goals. Remember, the adage “No man is an island unto himself” is popular for a reason.
Don’t Rest on Your Laurels- As you begin to see growth in your career you may be tempted to sit back and relax. Avoid the temptation! Be sure to not settle for “good enough.” Instead strive for excellence in attaining your goals. Keep learning and staying on top of trends within and around your industry in order to be sure you never get left behind.
Time and time again, we hear about the importance of attending college in order to land a nice-paying job in hopes of living the good life. While it’s true that having a degree (especially an advanced one) can and will open many doors of opportunities, we also have to consider those who make the choice not to attend a college or university.
Maybe finances are too tight to pay out of pocket for higher education? Or maybe the college thing just isn’t for you? There are still many options a person can take who does not graduate with a college degree. We have already heard about jobs that pay a nice salary to those with a two-year degree. Now it’s time to look at some that don’t require a bachelor’s degree.