Fresh out of college, one of my first mistakes was turning down a job in a rural community. Later, once I understood that my career growth was tied to physical relocation, my family and I embraced opportunities, which meant leaving Canada and our extended families. It also meant that my daughters changed schools about every three years. It was a different, but enriching, experience for us as a family.
We took full advantage of our world travels, expanded our appreciation of different cultures, and formed a network of new friends around the globe. We gained a greater appreciation of how others view the world. Looking back, I can honestly say I’m sorry we didn’t experience an even wider diversity of locations and cultures. Two or three years can go by incredibly fast, and when the time came to relocate, we were always just as sad to leave our temporary home as we were excited to take on the next adventure.
If you’re open to new and different experiences, I believe you will have tremendous flexibility in your career. Moves don’t have to be to exotic or distant locations to create new opportunities. Whenever you physically move your household, make new friends, or find new hobbies, that’s change and adaptation.
You can help create an environment for a successful transition by understanding your personal or family dynamics, and how those might change if you move. Explore areas in which you might have future opportunities, and discuss with family and friends what could make each area an interesting and rewarding experience. Planning and envisioning scenarios can help you make the right decision. Consider the options, rather than declining a great opportunity that could progress your career.
On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
The ability to embrace and lead change is a critical trait that leaders in any industry must possess. The more comfortable you are with understanding, embracing, and guiding change, the better equipped you will be to navigate a long-term career. It’s also important to remember that technology, innovation, creativity, and the entrepreneurial mindset driving business disruption can come from anywhere. Look beyond your industry, and understand how business and technology are progressing and transforming around you.
On the Importance of Role Models and Mentors
A mentor exposed me to the career paths of others and encouraged me to think beyond the boundaries of what I thought I would do. Mentors can help push us out of our comfort zone. In my case, I took an opportunity outside HR to work in the business.
Deanna’s Advice to Young Women Starting Careers
Working in a field office early in my career provided me with perspective and a chance to see where real value is created. I formed a much better understanding of the business from a grassroots standpoint. Since then, I’ve seen people pass up field opportunities or get frustrated with lower-level responsibilities. No opportunity is too small when it comes to learning something of value. Exceptional performance in any role is the catalyst to future opportunity.