Sometimes you have to create opportunities for yourself when none exist.
Remember in this blog when I talked about getting my first corporate job to help me feel more stable. I loved having set hours each week, knowing exactly what my paycheck was going to be, and getting to sit in a nice office every day. However, only a few months after I got hired, I realized that my new job was in jeopardy.
One of the Marketing guys that I built a fast friendship with told me the reason the other person left was because there wasn’t enough work to do for a full-time person.
Oh no! I wasn’t about to lose my stability.
The first thing I did was go to my direct boss to see if there were opportunities for me to shadow or learn other positions so that I could be of assistance elsewhere. Unfortunately, this boss was on the low end of the boss spectrum and she wasn’t interested in her employees cross-training or learning anything new.
Crazy right? For her, it gave her a sense of control to be able to tell us what we could and couldn’t do. Her goal in being a manager was about power and not in helping others.
So, I had to find another way. Sorry, not sorry, but you aren’t about to mess up my career for your own personal ego trip. Long story short, I started tapping into the relationships I was building at the office. Just because I couldn’t do a formal side-by-side in another department didn’t mean I couldn’t still talk to my co-workers about what they were doing and showing a genuine interest in finding ways to help them. That is when I found out about Mr. Neb.
Mr. Neb was the name of a nebulizer my company sold to medical offices. At the time, there was only one person working in that department and it was growing faster than she could keep up with – no fault of her own, just natural progression as things started to scale up.
I had also been aware from having helped out the Executive Assistant to the President that this was a high impact project and that the executive team spent a lot of time talking about how to make it work long-term.
This was it!
An opportunity where I could add value and make a significant impact to others. Since I often had an extra 30-45 minutes of time in my day, I started by just helping file paperwork at the end of each day.
It helped me learn how the process worked, and I could start to suggest some tips and techniques to streamline things.
One day the C.O.O. (who was over the department) walked by and saw that the previous stacks of paperwork were not only missing but categorized and filed away. She asked me about it and I was prepared with my pitch about how hard working this woman was and simply needed some help, that I had time available and would be happy to learn more in this area since I know how important it was. She was impressed, and maybe even relieved for a solution, and that was the first time I got a promotion in the corporate world!
Now, would I have preferred to just find an opportunity from my direct boss rather than going around her – absolutely! I would never recommend doing something like that first without trying to work on development with your boss.
Unfortunately, not all bosses care about developing their team. So, if you need to create your own opportunity then start by looking at the pain points and high impact projects that you could add some value to.
This is a lot easier when you have already established great rapport with people so that your actions don’t come across negatively or unprofessional.
Also, you can always benefit from having advocates in your corner who can speak to the quality of your work and your character. Check out this blog for more tips on how to turn problems into a promotion.
Now it’s your turn!
This week, I challenge you to find a pain point that you might be able to address and turn into an opportunity for your career growth.
By simply paying more attention to what others may be struggling with or asking digging questions you can find the areas that would make the most impact should the problem be resolved. Find the problem that your skills can best help solve, that will make the most impact. That is your sweet spot. Message me when you are ready to pursue your next opportunity!