I have to admit that I have been a little stressed about my career lately – mainly because of all these events that are occurring:
(1) I will be graduating with my MBA in April,
(2) I have recently been approached about doing some consulting,
(3) my friend has informed me about a job that may be opening up in his company and he would like me to consider, and
(4) I have been asked to become the Chair (which is the President of the Board) of the non-profit I have been involved with!
It is all very exciting stuff, but it leaves me wondering which direction I should be headed for my career – and what is really going to help me get promoted? Should I build my resume with this Chair position? Should I leave the company I work for in order to step into a higher role at a smaller company? Or maybe I should do none of these things and just continue plugging away at my current job.
My Meeting With My Mentor
I am currently the Treasurer and an executive committee member of a wonderful non-profit, and it has been a great experience. Not only has it allowed me to get involved in something outside of work, but it has really built up my leadership skills since I was heading up many intelligent individuals in the Finance Committee. I have really enjoyed this role for the past year, and I have apparently done well because the Chair of the Board has recently asked me to move up into the Vice Chair position, which would ultimately mean leading the entire Board of 15 people a year later when I would slide into the Chair position (it’s part of the agreement of accepting the Vice Chair position). In my mind this would be an excellent leadership opportunity, but I knew it would mean greater involvement and more time away from work. Luckily, I have a mentor at work that was able to straighten me out.
Be Into What You’re Into
About eight years ago (yes, I’m tracing back to the distant past on this one!), I started an adventure to become part of Team (as it was then called), which was a network marketing business that specialized in online health products and leadership. It was ultimately a failed effort, but I really learned a lot about myself and my capabilities during those couple of years. And, it seemed that recently I had forgotten one of the main leadership lessons from long ago, “Be into what you’re into.” This simply means that if you are going to do something, don’t put one foot in the boat and one on the dry dock. Either absolutely nothing will happen, or you will experience pain in the very near future. You (or in this case, I) need to either choose to rev up the motor on the boat or run full speed up the dock. Be into what you’re into and give it your all.
Thanks to my mentor, I was reminded of this yesterday. Sure, I could build my resume with this Chair position, but if I ultimately wanted to stay at my current company (which I do), then it would probably hurt me more than help since it would be taking me away from work consistently. Extra certifications and responsibilities can be rewarding, but they don’t guarantee a movement up the corporate ladder (believe me, I know a guy that has about 9 certificates pinned all around his office, but because he doesn’t put forth any effort at work, they mean absolutely nothing to his employer).
If you want to move up at work, be into what you’re into. Volunteer for projects, over-deliver on your promises, put in the extra time, stay visible and be willing to help those that have influence in the organization. With some good old fashioned grunt work, you will quickly get to where you want to go!
Are you into what you’re into?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.