Career Decisions: Why Looking Backward Means Moving Forward
Career decisions are never easy. Hitching your wagon to the right star requires you to not only consider your future, but also take stock of your past. I recently experienced this firsthand when I left a highly publicized, fast-growth tech company to pursue a unique opportunity with the boutique hospitality industry agency that gave me my start as a creative professional 15 years ago.
I began my first role as a Graphic Designer for this small company a few weeks after my college graduation and 10 months after the September 11th terrorist attacks on New York, a city that was only a few hours from our office and contained a sizable percentage of our clients. These were especially tense times that sent shock waves through the hospitality and tourism industry. Survival meant working harder than ever, but also having the courage to still believe in yourself when things looked their worst.
During my subsequent 3.5 years with this company, I received a substantial ‘real-world’ education that undoubtedly contributed to my career decisions over the decade that followed. I learned to face difficult business realities head-on, analyze trends and take risks to create ongoing opportunities. I learned the value of strong cross-departmental collaboration when syncing business objectives with creative strategy. I learned how to build successful professional relationships, sharpen my critical-thinking skills, and turn negative client feedback into positive situations. I learned that strong leadership is absolutely imperative, and that employer gratitude changes employee attitude.
It was also with this company that I won my very first professional design award, solidified my love for the hospitality industry, and discovered that when you embrace difficult challenges and put your heart into your work, you become an unstoppable powerhouse of creativity.
At one time or another we've all struggled to determine if certain career moves are right for us. Not every opportunity presented will be the right one, but it’s important to remember that they all serve as a reminder of what we've accomplished and what we continue to truly place a high value on. Careful reflection of these experiences will allow you to hone your intuition and move forward with authenticity and confidence, regardless of your final decision.
In this particular case, reflecting upon my own career experiences has moved me full-circle, as I now lead creative strategy for the company that took a risk with this hopeful design grad 15 years ago. And I'm incredibly thrilled to apply what I’ve learned along the way to ensure their continued success and tell their unique story as they prepare to enter their 30th year in business.
Feels good to be home. Really good.