I met a familiar face as a prospective customer recently. The meeting was special as this was someone I knew from 20 years back. We were competitors those days. Today he is the MD of a fortune 500 Pharma Company which clocks 1000 Crore turnover in India. I would call it a classic case of Career harvest. We had a good long chat about the past, not surprisingly!
Our meeting and conversation got me thinking. He continued working for the same company and today he leads the company. He successfully scaled the corporate ladder from sales executive to MD. In short, his career journey has been nothing short of spectacular and inspiring – the envy of many!
I then did a self-reflection; within 20 years, I had switched jobs 3 times! In retrospect, I’m not sure if I would have eventually scaled the ladder to be the MD of my first employer if I had stayed on. Succinctly said, I failed to harvest my career well enough then. Maybe, there could have been better opportunities for me within the same company. I can think of few reasons why:
Perhaps I lacked the maturity of having a long sighted growth vision. Strange! I had become a manager in just 18 months into the job (imagine the fate of my reportees J) while being fully aware that the MD of that company also climbed up the career ladder from being a sales rep in that company. Not enough vision or lack of a mentor?
I believe I gave up on my boss too soon. Yes, by the time I left the company, my relationship with my boss was on the verge of a breakdown. From then on, I have had bosses with whom I had many conflicts but somehow I managed and tolerated those stress periods for longer (well, blame it on age!)
I was posted to North India which was 2000 miles away from home in a job that required me to travel 75% of the time. I badly wanted to be closer to home so I left. Ironically, karma seemed to have arrived full circle as 3 employers later and I’m still in the same predicament – hotels and airports are my home away from home today!
Career harvesting is crucial as we tend to get impatient with various triggers to please our many needs. Every increment, bonus, promotion, role, location, bad bosses; etc. influence our thinking. There were many times over the course of my employment stints that I felt I should have been in a much larger role. Could it be because, I saw my peers/bosses secure double the salaries and fancy titles within the same company or with new employers.
I failed to notice that not only was I growing incrementally in my roles but I was adding on unique skills and exposure. The various organisations I was with was going through different phases and I was skating on very valuable learning curves. These dawned on me only when my new employer knocked on my door with an exciting new role. I was at ease doing many things in the new company pretty fast. Hence, with my new employer I was able to harvest my career. This was possible as I had unknowingly nurtured it, thanks to the steep learning curve I had with previous companies. However, prior to that, I was worried as to whether those experiences would eventually pay off. 🙂