Sometimes the most insightful career advice comes from those who know and love us best. Read on as one of our Managing Partners, Adele Mezher, shares personal career advice passed on by her father.
Science teacher, poet, refugee, beekeeper, engineer, minister, lifesaver - my dad's been a lot of things in his life. He just turned eighty-two, and now more than ever do I appreciate one more thing that he’s been: wise. I find myself replaying many of our past conversations, particularly about work/life balance. Given all of my time in executive search and the career advice that I offer up on a daily basis, it's been heartwarming to think back on what he's shared with me through the years.
Don't give away all your secrets. For twenty-five years, dad ran quality control for a semiconductor manufacturer. No one could figure out how he managed projects under budget and ahead of schedule. And he wouldn't tell! As far as he was concerned, it was competitive advantage. The reality though is that our work environments have become increasingly collaborative. It's about cross training and transparency, which is incredibly valuable. Still, there is room to embrace your uniqueness. What you bring to the table in terms of your personality, perspective, experiences, talent is all yours. So, is there a special ingredient that goes into the work that I do? Yes, but I'll never tell.
"Stay small potatoes." I distinctly remember my dad turning down a promotion. It didn't make any sense to me at the time, but now I get it. He didn't want to tinker with where he was in life at that moment. My dad was a master at maintaining balance. Work hard, challenge yourself, keep learning, and be content if there comes a time when you choose not to move up that next rung on the career ladder. It may be to protect your way of life, preserve time with family or reserve it for volunteer interests. Recently, I've had a few professionals say to me, "I really don't want a bigger role. I love my life just the way it is. Is that wrong?" Nope. It's not wrong at all.
Go for it. Dad was a huge fan of going for it, especially in those moments when you had nothing to lose. There were times in my career when I felt like I needed something more or different. I just felt it in my gut. When I talked to him about launching Pearl Street Collective, he looked me square in the eye and said, "You know what you're doing. Go for it." Are you feeling uncomfortable in your role right now? Why not speak with your supervisor about expanding or changing it (or, and this can be a tough one to tackle, ask for a raise), see if your partner is open to relocation, brainstorm career paths with your mentor? You may find that it gives you the courage to go for it.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn.