I clock ten years in the corporate sector in two years. Much as it has been a journey with its fair share of wins and achievements, there are things I wish I had done differently when starting off my career, things that would have increased my chances of vertical growth in the work space.
If I had a chance to go back to my younger self and advise her differently, I would tell give her the following nuggets;
1. Put yourself out there
Be proactive. Do not shrink yourself simply because you are new to the job. Learn as much as you can from those around you, both from on job trainings (if any) and by personally approaching those in your area of interest and specialization.
2. Perfect your skill
Master your craft. Doing so makes you an asset and increases your chances of growth both level wise and monetarily. The more value you add, the higher your chances for growth.
3. Grow your skillset
Enroll for online courses and trainings and refresh your knowledge frequently. Join networks of people in your field as well to have a broader understanding of the market beyond the organization you work for.
4. Develop a savings culture
Live a little but save more. Always deduct your savings before spending your monthly salary. Once you do, invest your money in options that earn you considerable returns. (PS : Do not put your money in a savings account. These do not factor in the time value of money.) Financial advisors can lend a helping hand in deciding where and how to invest.
5. Develop a strong work ethic
Your work ethic is the discipline and steadfastness with which you carry yourself and the role assigned to you. Keep time, be diligent in your duties and polish on the soft skills that make you a reliable employee.
6. Have boundaries
Remember that much as you will have a social circle from work, not everybody can be trusted. Engage wisdom in your casual interactions. Separate your personal life from your work life.
Interact with people in your field and those in different fields within and without your organization. Attend work and industry functions in your line of specialization and interact with people across all levels of the ladder. Never be intimidated by roles and titles. They too are humans just like you.
8. Get a mentor
If possible, get a mentor who will guide you on your career path. Approach someone you look up to and find out whether they do mentorship. If they do, express your interest in being mentored and find out whether they can onboard you as well. Alternatively, seek out group mentorship programs and enroll for one.
9. Look out for growth opportunities
Do not get too comfortable and complacent in your current role. Constantly seek out opportunities within and without your company. If possible, work in different industries in your line of expertise.
10. Believe in yourself
You are as capable (if not more) of occupying the corner office as the people in them. Work hard, work smart and believe in yourself!