As a recruiter, I have learnt that your career, like most things in life, is a journey and not a final destination. Many of us have a ‘future version’ of ourselves in our dream job. Maybe you see yourself as a Partner in a prestigious law firm or a CEO in a start-up tech company. Maybe you see yourself as being part of a global organisation or being self-employed. Maybe you want to retire early in life or maybe you want to build an empire! Maybe money is the most important thing to you or maybe it’s recognition, collaboration or balance.
Whatever it is, you don’t have to get there just yet. All you have to do is ask yourself right now – am I getting closer to where I want to be, or moving further away?
We spend so much of our lives focussing on our careers yet so many people are unhappy in their current job. Is it because we don’t go for the opportunity when it presents itself? Or do our modern times make decision making more difficult?
You’ve probably heard this statement before:
“Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them”
This is an extract from a Hewlett Packard internal report which has been quoted many times in successful books like Lean In and The Confidence Code which usually suggest that women need more confidence in their careers and abilities.
Last March, Mason Alexander discussed this topic, among others, in an event we hosted to celebrate International Women’s day. We had a panel of impressive professionals including business women Maeve Harrington and Pamela Quinn, lawyer & founding partner Aideen Hennessey and actress & entrepreneur Amy Huberman. After a panel discussion which lasted nearly 2 hours, the main take away was saying to women, and everyone else, to go for it! Take the chance, make the move, apply to the job – what’s the worst that can happen?
Amy said “90% of what I do or try, doesn’t work. But that 10% gives all the results”. If the opportunity seems good to you, even if you doubt yourself, they say to just go for it!
However, this is not a female vs. male issue.
In my role as a recruiter, I constantly see very talented people (both men and women) turning away from a great opportunity because they feel they are not 100% qualified for the role.
Male or female, you are either the type of person who puts yourself out there or you are not.
There is nothing wrong with either. But in this day and age, where we are all striving not only to live successful and secure lives but also happy and fulfilling ones, where experiences outweigh possessions and our time is valued more than the money we receive for it, it is important to constantly review your career choices.
Is the job you are in right now serving you in your career journey and getting you closer to where you see yourself?
We recently had a very interesting seminar with Kingsley Aikins, former President & CEO of the Worldwide Irish Funds and global networker, who highlighted some modern dilemmas we face. He says that we are in the best of times in a lot of ways. As young professionals we have the world at our feet; rapid technology innovations make life easier, there are loads of opportunities in different emerging markets in one global economy and there is more wealth in the world now than ever before. But he says that we are also in the worst of times. We have a strong distrust in the world, government, media etc. and technology means that we almost never fully switch off from work. We feel anxious, struggle to make decisions and some 85% of people state they are disengaged in their career.
Luckily, our career is the one area in our lives where we seem to have some control.
Sometimes, a job is a stepping stone for which you can spring forward from. If you are happy in your current job, role, sector and you can see a career path in front of you which will get to where you want to be, that’s a great thing.
However, if you are feeling stuck, held back or are disengaged, you have the power to change that. Asking yourself if your current role is serving you in reaching that ‘future version’ of yourself can be liberating. If it’s not; if there is no career progression where you are or you don’t feel you are equipping yourself with the experience you will need to move forward, I would advise speaking to your current manager or boss, seeking the advice of a mentor or start looking at other options.
As our business panel suggested, even if you feel like you don’t have the qualifications but you think the opportunity is great – just go for it! What’s the worst that can happen?
The Author: Megan Shannon is the head of legal recruitment at Irish recruitment firm Mason Alexander. If you would like to discuss your career path with Megan, please contact her on 016854414 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. All conversations will be held in confidence.
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