This blog has made me think a lot about my career – even more than normal, I’d say. We always hear that every day is an opportunity to network, make a good impression, or take a step in the direction of your dreams. These are the things we hear, but many of us (men and women alike) often struggle to envision where exactly we are going.
Sometimes this can be a little stressful. Everyone wants to be successful in their career, but how can we aim to move “up” if we can’t see a path to the top? How can we have goals if we aren’t sure what exactly we’re aiming for? I’m sure I’m not the only one with these questions, and I’ve spent the last few weeks taking a good hard look at my professional goals.
Here’s what I’ve decided:
1. Good things happen to those who work hard.
It’s always important to focus on professional growth, but it’s hard to find time to worry when you’re busy working hard to be the best you can and do the best you can. The people we look up to and the people in the positions that we aspire to are often hard workers and got there through work ethic and dedication. When you’re struggling with your career path, focus on that. Hard work is one of those skills that leads by example and speaks louder than words. It’s always one of those traits that can take you places you never thought possible.
2. Everything happens for a reason.
When I graduated from college, I never pictured myself working at the University of Michigan. I began my career at a small, private, Division II Catholic school in Florida and I had no idea where my path was going to take me. My job was time-consuming and difficult; I was overworked and underpaid, but it’s where I got my start and I’m so thankful for that. Every step I’ve made since my career began has led me to where I am today, and in many cases, my path was decided by people other than myself: people who recommended me or vouched for me. Those generous efforts were things I never planned for, yet they’ve helped make my path and brought me to where I am today.
3. Every opportunity is a growth opportunity.
I once had a terrible boss (no one I work with now!), and working for that person made me question my career choice and, in turn, my life. That boss taught me literally nothing about my job duties, but instead I learned a lot about leadership and the type of leader that I aspired to be. My time spent working for that person was miserable, but I decided to make it the best I possibly could by using it as a growth opportunity. Rather than wasting my time thinking and/or complaining about how terrible my boss was, I did my job. That manager taught me so much about how NOT to lead people, that I truly learned a lot about myself while working for that person. Not every situation is perfect or ideal, but we can always stand to learn something.
It’s important to focus on the future, but sometimes it’s even more important to focus on the present. If you have a job, you have a job to do, and doing that job is going to get you where you want to go — wherever that is.
Talk soon, KGH