Many of us think that to advance in our careers we have to jump jobs every few years. But in reality, chances are your current job offers various opportunities and roles that you haven’t tapped into. If you are confident in your abilities and want to take the big leap forward, you have to embrace new challenges, more responsibilities, and expand your skills.
“People don’t fall into great positions, roles or opportunities. These opportunities come after you have stretched yourself to access the next level of your courage, risk-taking, perseverance, and willingness to manifest what you desire,” says JJ DiGeronimo, a technology expert and the President of Tech Savvy Women
Gender equality and getting more women at leadership roles, especially in the tech industry is a pressing matter. The number of women in tech roles has been declining steadily over the years because of a lack of women mentors and role models and unequal growth opportunities compared to men. In a study of GitHub users, they found that code written by women was accepted 78.6% of the time, which was 4% more than those written by men (when gender was kept a secret). This goes to show that women are better coders, but are not perceived as that.
While this poses a new urgency for employers to deal with biases and challenges faced by women at workplaces, there are things that women can do to accelerate their careers too. JJ DiGeronimo, President of Tech Savvy Women, in her many keynotes talks about how it is great to have an aspiration to do something big and impactful in your career, but it is difficult to take that leap if you are not relevant and if your peers don’t see you in that way.
So here’s what you can do to take yourself to the next level:
Carve time out for yourself
Simple, right? But most of us are guilty of not carving out some personal time amidst our busy schedules. It is natural for life to take over you, and we give in to our many responsibilities. Every morning, if you wake up just a little before your normal routine starts, you can rev up your mind to do the things you want to do – whether it is to learn a new skill that helps at work, do an online course, or simply to workout or meditate.
Outsource & delegate often
We often take pride in having successfully completed a mammoth task single-handedly or taking on a lot of responsibilities and seeing them through. But take a step back and think – should you be doing it all by yourself or was it something that you could’ve delegated? Outsource things that you don’t need to touch. Delegating effectively is the key to moving from what you can personally do to what you can manage. Delegating is crucial for two reasons:
1. It gives you more time to work on things that requires your expertise & attention and allows you the opportunity to advance to higher positions of authority.
2. You give a chance to your subordinates to pick up the skills and equip them to handle more such tasks independently. They will be able to take on tasks and see them through giving it their complete attention.
Select the people you want to be with
We have colleagues, family members, friends who we spend a lot of time with on a day to day basis. There are some people who you click with and others that are downright obnoxious and toxic. And surely, not everyone can add value to your life and help you grow. In fact, some can drain your energy by taking up too much of your bandwidth and mind space with things you don’t want to be associated with. When dealing with such people, don’t let yourself get consumed by their antics. Instead, find like-minded people who can support you. Spend more time with people who can have a positive impact on you – those that can help you elevate you to the next level professionally or personally.
Find yourself a mentor
When you are starting a new job or navigating through your career, finding someone who can teach you the ropes is helpful. Mentors can be the key to your professional success simply because they have overcome the same challenges and been where you currently are. Why reinvent the wheel when you can be advised by a mentor? They can guide you through your career labyrinth with anecdotes from their personal experience and wisdom. Successful people who are further along in their careers than you are can be great mentors. Ask them how they got there. What strategies they applied to get through their day, the month and the year.
And If you are lucky, you may even find yourself a ‘sponsor’ – someone who will use their human capital (resources) to help you get to where you want to be. For instance, it could be a phone call or email to refer you to your next job
Women often feel pressured to prove themselves and their abilities. We consistently ‘give’ as we take up more responsibilities, and have to meet the demands of work and families. But it is crucial to remember – every time you are saying no to someone, you are saying yes to yourself – you are taking back control of your life by not allowing others to make your decisions because otherwise it is very difficult to move forward.
A good way to handle requests that require your effort, especially when you are trying to guess whether it belongs in your schedule or not is to see how it impacts your other tasks. Check if you have all the necessary information before you say ‘yes’ and gauge if you need to remove another commitment from the schedule to make room for the new request. If it gets in the way of your schedule or peace of mind, you are allowed to say no.
Take up that challenge
Oftentimes if you ask successful people what catapulted their careers forward, they will tell you that it was a situation, project, or situation that they were most nervous about taking up. It would’ve been something that nobody wanted to attempt because of how tough it seemed and that they would have to step out of their comfort zone to do it. We tend to underestimate our capabilities, but when thrown into the deep end, you will certainly be surprised by what you can accomplish. So put yourself out there and take on that challenge.
If you are looking for high-impact, high-paying job roles where you can work with like-minded people, consider Talent500. Register here and get discovered by Fortune 500 companies and top MNCs.