Get in Touch
Do you have a Career Hero? Someone who stood out in your career as
a shining example or a guiding light - someone you looked up to, who helped you
progress or who you aspired to be? We can learn a lot from our Career Heroes
and I hope to encourage you to explore yours by sharing a few of mine.
As ever, at the end of the email is a quick and easy exercise for
you to do if you'd like to explore your own Career Heroes and the lessons or
gifts, they have given you.
My first ever job was a weekend job, aged 14, at a care home for
the elderly. I'd wanted a weekend job ever since my older brother had got his
own at a chicken farm. It was at this care home, in a tiny village, that I met
my first Career Hero.
She was the Matron and called Sandra. Sandra was a hero because
she paid the younger workers (like me) the same wage as her adult workers.
"You do the same job and so you should get the same pay". This made
absolute sense to teenage me and little did I know how unusual this parity of
For this parity of pay, she expected parity of work. This included
all the more "interesting" aspects of working in care, including
dealing with bodily fluids and the occasional cadaver. Sandra prepared us all
for every eventuality with care and thoroughness. In short, I was treated as an
adult entering the world of work.
What Sandra taught me: Fairness, Equality and Work Ethic.
I met my
second Career Hero in my first full-time "career" role, working in a
management consultancy in London. I had joined the firm as a bilingual PA and
had quickly been promoted into a Researcher role. The consultancy focused on
the very technical aspects of executive pay and I didn't find it very
interesting or rewarding. I remember trying to describe what I did for a living
to my grandma: "I make fat cats fatter."
joined the firm from a larger consultancy and was like a breath of fresh air.
Not only did he focus on the "human" side of performance, but he had
a can-do, optimistic and highly refreshing attitude (he was also great fun at
the pub!). Don decided that I could "easily" be a consultant and got
me promoted straightaway. He also encouraged me to enrol in the CIPD HR
qualification, which I did.
Don and I
travelled quite a bit in our consultancy - Newcastle, Athens and Jeddah to name
a few. Of course, this was very exciting for me at 24/25 but the main enjoyment
was working with Don. He pushed me to do things WAY out of my comfort zone
whilst always making me feel that he had my back. I knew that if everything
went wrong, Don would sweep in and seamlessly take control.
taught me: High challenge and high support
enables people to fly high.
Career Hero I'm going to share earns her place here as she rescued me from the
career doldrums (still in exec pay) and introduced me to a career that I
pursued with enormous enjoyment for over a decade.
her own niche headhunting firm in London. I approached her looking for a role
in exec pay. Aged 28, I thought that my extensive (5 years) career experience
had set me on an immovable straight line towards being a partner in an exec pay
firm. Carmel thought different.
persuaded me to join her (part-time at first) and try my hand at recruitment.
Although I wasn't sure, she persuaded me that I could apply for any interesting
exec pay roles that came into the firm whilst helping her out. She knew what
she was doing. Within a few weeks, I was hooked on recruitment. BUT, I wasn't
very good at first. At least, I didn't make any money for her firm. But she
just kept smiling and saying, "It will come." And she was right. She
saw strengths in me that I didn't yet see myself.
learned from Carmel: People
have unlimited potential to explore beyond their boundaries if given the
opportunity and support.
decided to write about Career Heroes, these three people came to me immediately
without much digging. When I look back now over what they taught me, it seems
that they are the culmination of my core Values of Fairness (Sandra) and
Independence (Don) as well as the inspiration for what I do now (Carmel).
What You Can Do Now
you to pick your own three Career Heroes (can be more, can be fewer). For each
of them, ask the following questions:
I hope you've enjoyed exploring your Career Heroes. Of course,
there were a few Career Villains along the way who can also teach valuable
lessons. I'll save those stories for another day.
If you would like this weekly blog sent directly to your inbox, as well as receive a copy of my “Top 3 Ways to Boost Your Career Happiness Right Now,” please click here.