What I’ve Learned Along the Way

When you get to the stage in your career where I am, you have probably been given a lot of advice or picked up some things along the way.

In my early years, I learned many things from watching my father. When I was elementary school age, he sometimes worked two jobs to make sure the family had what we needed. As I got a little older, he took over the family business when his father retired. It seemed like he was always working. When he finally did sit down for a few minutes, he was always reading a book or magazine—nonfiction of course, so he could keep learning.

A few of the many things I have learned from my father are to work hard, do not be a victim of your circumstance, and never stop trying to improve yourself, as well as the following pieces of advice:

  • Nobody is just going to give you a job or a promotion. You must work hard and prove yourself. You own your career.
  • Not every job is going to be a dream job. Sometimes you may struggle to even find a job. Not every boss will be a good leader. Make the best of it; learn from it (even if it is learning what not to do); and grow from it.
  • Most of all never stop trying to be better at whatever you do—a better listener, a better project manager, a better leader, a better person, a better whatever you do.

As I progressed in my career, I realized you must network, network, network. When you are looking for your next job or help with a problem, a good network can be your best resource.

What I’ve learned about networking:

  • Belong to a few groups. I belong to a technology group, Chamber of Commerce, an executive group, and various women’s networks. You want some diversity in your contacts or else you see the same people at every function. I’m fortunate that my husband is also in technology, so I can drag him to a few events with me.
  • Volunteer in your networks. It is a good way to get to know some of the people better as you spend more time with them. The bonus is it feels good to help a cause, so make it a good one.
  • Reach out to others in your network regularly, not just when you need something.
  • Help others in your network when they are in need. Make that introduction to one of your contacts, offer to proof their resume. I am a big believer in karma! You get back what you give.

So, work hard, make the best of your situation, and learn from it. Most important, network, network, network.