Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of meeting up with two ex-retailer marketing executives who had both recently moved into an agency environment. Neither of them had even considered moving jobs originally and the impetus had simply arisen as a result of a large-scale reorganisation within the retailer. I was impressed with how energised they both seemed and how they truly appeared to enjoy their new roles.
It goes like that with careers, doesn’t it? In the early days it is so important to claw your way up the ladder. Achievement of the next, more senior title is where all your energies tend to be focused until you either run out of titles or some event happens that causes you to divert towards a broader, more lateral goal. Suppliers move to retailers, clients move to agencies and vice versa. Sometimes, even larger steps are taken where individuals choose to move sectors, industries or even countries. Now we are talking.
Successful entrepreneurs often reflect on their early days in business and claim that the biggest jump for them involved making the move from one outlet to two, for example, and that moving from 20 outlets to 30 really didn’t mean as much, nor affect the business dynamic in the same way as that first, risk-laden step. Yet success would never have accrued if they had not taken that risk.
Maybe that’s the way we should look at our careers and be prepared to take a risk broadening our vision. Isn’t it better to lead your career in whatever direction you choose, rather than being led by the existing linear structure?
Many people I have met who have been through some form of redundancy are often forced to consider thinking more broadly. Most of them end up in great roles and have never been happier. But perhaps it is time to get ahead of the curve and start thinking about yourself and your career more deeply. Think about what you really like doing, what gives you the most satisfaction in your job, and consider what you are really good at. Often these attributes go hand-in-hand.
Now start planning where you could just possibly lay your hat and then have a serious think about when. You just might start to have more fun, be more energised and discover a more fruitful career.