It’s interesting to look back over your career and evaluate where you got it right, and got it wrong.
I have worked in a male dominated industry for most of my career and although it’s obvious that there are more men than women in my industry, I’ve honestly never given too much attention to it. I’ve been lucky enough to be posted overseas three times, and I’ve travelled with work to countries and cultures that continue to amaze me. I think it’s important to set the bar based on what you see from others, but not forget that you’re trying to make a better version of you, no one else.
When I’m learning, and working on something that’s as equally exhilarating as scary, I know it’s going to be a good day. When I allow myself some time to really think about my work, rather than fire-fighting it really makes a difference. Relationships really drive work beyond expectations and it’s important to know people at a personal and professional level so you can understand what drives them, what’s impacting them, and how you need to support them to achieve everything they want to be.
Most of my close friends and colleagues would admit that, at some point, they made a bad decision about their career which set them back. We took the fantastic role only to find out the reality was different to the interview pitch. We didn’t ask the right questions during the interview process or been trapped in a role we don’t enjoy because we lack the nerve to make the change. We’ve not applied for an internal move because we lack the confidence to give it a shot. The last one is most interesting because statistics tell us that women are more likely to focus on what they don’t have for that new role, rather than what they do have.
The best advice I could give any young professional, is to ask questions, trust your instincts and take the time to evaluate “what’s next” regularly, even if it scares you. The only way to have a solid, long-lasting career (which you enjoy) will be to challenge your mind and body while understanding that health and happiness cannot be taken for granted. We are human, and without the right environment and ‘nourishment’ we can break, and sometimes you might be the last person to see it coming. Surround yourself with people, both professionally and personally, who will be truthful with you about the areas you excel and the areas you need to improve. Take on board the feedback you receive, even if it hurts, disappoints you or makes you angry. Trust me, when you have a chance to really digest that feedback, you will see the relevance in what’s been shared. Find yourself some professional and personal role models who have similar values, so when things get tough, you have support.
And when you make decisions that don’t seem to be turning out for the best, don’t forget you can always course-correct. The person who should influence your career and your life the most should be you. Take control of your own destiny – only you can know where you got things right, and where you got them wrong. When you get things right it’s the best feeling in the whole world, and if you get it wrong, hopefully you learned something about yourself.
Follow our #LifeAtCA story on Social Media.
Julie McDowell – Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition,
Connect with Julie on LinkedIn here