We all must start somewhere, and the bottom seems like the only logical starting point. I started in my current profession more than 28 years ago when I was hired by a staffing agency. I was hired as courtesy patrol staff for an apartment complex where I was to provide security type services and observe and report as I walked around the property on hourly patrols. I was 19 years old at the time, making $4.25 an hour in a position I thought would lead me nowhere. Now, 28 years later, I’m a District Manager with a worldwide security company and let’s just say that I’d prefer to remain modest about my current income and keep that to myself. No one likes a bragger.
So, how did I get to where I am now? Here are the 5 way I have learned to grow in any profession:
5. Just Get Started
This one seems easy, but you would be surprised how many people hold themselves back from starting anything because they fear the unknown. Everything you start is unknown, but if you don’t take that first step, how will you ever know? Remember when you were a kid and got your first set of LEGO’S? You didn’t know what you wanted to build, yet you just started putting those blocks together and before you knew it, you were ambitious enough to contemplate building LEGO Cathedrals. Keep that same spirit and just go for it!
4. Grow When You’re Ready to Grow
A mentor of mine once said, “You are where you are, because you want to be there.” Those words have echoed in my mind for years and have always motivated me to move on in life or profession. There will come a time when you will know that you have the skills and experience to improve your professional situation. When you do, take that step and either find opportunities to grow within the company you are working for, or venture out and find a position suitable for the value you offer now. If you want more responsibility, go get it. If you want more money, go get it. If you want to stay where you are, there’s nothing wrong with that either. “You are where you are because you want to be there”.
3. Get More Training
We all have room to grow. We never know everything there is to know about what we want to know. Companies love to invest in the knowledge of their employees. Often, employees do not realize that there are learning opportunities that they can take advantage of. Some of these opportunities are just as beneficial as going to school to learn them. Employers know that offering these learning opportunities to their employees makes their employees that much more valuable, so it is in their best interest to retain that employee and use their new knowledge to benefit the company. So, be on the lookout to advance in your position. Even if advancement opportunities are not available within the company, take those new skills and knowledge and seek employment where you can put all that new knowledge to work!
2. Stop the Rinse-and-Repeat Cycle
Pick a profession and continuously be good at it. I have held several positions in my life. I have worked at call centers, convenience stores, factories, retail, fast food, you name it, but I have always gravitated back to my security roots. The more I deviated from any position, the more times I had to start over. Try not to get stuck in Rinse-and-Repeat cycle. If you are in search of finding the work you love, that’s fine, but do not spend too much time trying to figure out what you want to dedicate your life to. Spend that valuable time honing and perfecting a skill you enjoy and use that skill or position to keep reaching new heights.
1. Love What You Do
On average, people work until the retirement age of 65. Some people leave retirement to continue working, whether out of necessity or out of sheer love of continuing in a profession that brings them joy. Whatever the case may be, it is important to realize that we all dedicate ourselves to a profession for a huge portion of our lifespan. Find a profession you love and want to improve upon. Then, and only then, will you find room to grow and reach a level of professional contentment we all deserve.