Just the other day, I was wondering about the word “career”. I think I would best describe my career as:
the professional journey I’m on that meanders through a variety of roles and responsibilities that build my experience in a field that suits me.
So then I asked myself: did I choose my career, or did my career choose me?
Let’s take a look.
At school I enjoyed learning German & French, so I wanted to do languages at university. I was given some advice to do a business and languages degree, so that’s what I did. I enjoyed Economics more than I enjoyed marketing, finance or accounting. I’ve no idea why. Economics just seemed to make sense to me.
Doing More Than A Degree
I got involved in a student organisation called AIESEC. With a pretty large global footprint, I liked what they stood for and wanted to get involved. It also allowed me to mingle with others at the university that weren’t on my courses. I enjoyed what I did in AIESEC as much as I did my course work. At some point when I met with a career advisor at my university, I shared what I enjoyed most about everything I was doing at university and her advice was that I consider a career in HR.
Upon graduating, AIESEC gave me the opportunity to live in Costa Rica for a year. I moved there, worked for AIESEC, taught English and enjoyed a year learning to dance salsa and improving my Spanish. When my year was up, I came home and decided I wanted to take advantage of the international internship programme AIESEC offers, having been involved in AIESEC for 6 years, and so I eventually got placed as the AIESEC internship programme coordinator with DHL. DHL was a global exchange partner with AIESEC and took on about 20 interns a year. My job was to coordinate it from inside the business.
The AIESEC programme was sponsored by the HR Development department at DHL. Responsible for talent management, leadership development and performance management, I began to learn what a “career in HR” could look like. Nothing like the paperwork and filing I thought it would be!
Building My Career
After my year as AIESEC programme coordinator, I was offered a permanent contract. I accepted and started working on some projects that included global induction programme, European induction conference for management hires, and e-recruitment. After a couple of years I moved to the US to work for DHL there, looking at leadership development. From there I became a career advisor, after that an HR manager, then a corporate trainer. Since relocating back to the UK 8 years ago, I have had a variety of roles in learning & development.
A Journey Without Any Particular Destination
I share my story because I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career. I didn’t have a dream job in mind. I did my part of my degree based on what I enjoyed at school, and part of it because of some advice from a relative. I had no idea what kind of job I wanted to do. But none of that seemed to matter.
What I did know was what I enjoyed doing, what I seemed to be learning and how that added to my skills and knowledge. Most importantly, I chose carefully
- who I was willing to work for
- who took me under their wing.
- who chose to mentor me through those early stages of my career.
- what kind of workplace environment suited me best.
Wherever you are in your career, are you looking at these types of things?
You move through jobs in your early career because you are just having to make money. Do you look at those roles as having been direct contributors to building your experience? Does your CV tell your career story? Have you built experience, credibility or income by passing through each job?
What’s Your Story?
If you are looking for help to better tell your career story, or you want to figure out how you are going to write the next chapter, then it might be time for us to work together.
You can start my online career coaching programme at any time that suits you. Work on shifting your career in the right direction at your own pace over a 6 month period that you will have access. For a limited time, I will be offering two free coaching calls as part of this package as I expand my business.
It’s time to take control of your career story.