Grow Outside of your Comfort Zone - Smart Money Seed

3/23/18

Grow Outside of your Comfort Zone

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Oh hey, Smart Money Squad! For those of you that don’t know me, I’m Kayleigh (aka KB). I’m the lucky girl that’s marrying Ty - and in turn, kinda marrying Alex and Christian because they talk so much and spend so much time formulating ideas for Smart Money Seed.


Anywho, today I’m going to share a story about how I took charge of my career, pursued something different, and how beneficial it was for me as a young professional.

I will start off this article by saying that I am fortunate to work for a great company that encourages exploration of areas outside of our own. I’ve worked for the same retail company since my summer internship before senior year. I’m sure everyone can relate to that exciting moment you accept a job offer after some intense interviews. I’m sure you can also relate to those days you sit in your cube and think…

I worked so hard throughout college for this?

I was comfortable, and as much as I love my comfort zone, I knew I could grow outside of it. Marketing was my major and I really wanted to move toward digital marketing in particular. This article has some of the lessons I learned along the way as I pursued a different job. While my experience was unique because I stayed within my company, there are still lessons that could be applied anywhere!
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved my first job and all of my coworkers. It was an amazing job that taught me so much about the business. However, I found myself beginning to crave a different experience than the store communications role I was in. If you're like me & struggle to break out of your comfort zone, here's a few lessons I learned from my personal experience that proved valuable in the long run.

Lesson #1: Be open and intentional about your career goals with your boss

Would you think I was crazy If I told you that I went into a weekly meeting with my boss and my agenda looked like this:

1.     I found this cool job description online. I want to do this job. Oh, and, it’s not what I’m doing right now.

In hindsight, maybe a totally different job description put in front of your boss isn’t the best way to go.  However,  having an open conversation about your interests, what you see yourself doing and WHY you’re interested in an opportunity is a great start. It could feel awkward at first. Ok… it is awkward. Once you get past the awkwardness, they may help you find different projects or opportunities at work in your area of interest.

Lesson #2: Find people that do something that interests you…and meet with them

Have you ever sat in a meeting with someone and thought, “wow, what they’re talking about is really cool”? This is the perfect opportunity to build a professional relationship with someone and learn about what they do! There’s nothing wrong with following up after a meeting and asking if they could meet for 15 minutes to talk about their role. Most people love helping younger people, and like to talk about themselves (or their job if you're asking!)

Interested in an industry outside of the one you’re currently in? LinkedIn is your best friend for connecting with other professionals! Make sure your profile is updated with not only your job descriptions, but your overall career goals so that your connections know where you see your career going.

I ended up meeting with the hiring manager of that job description I mentioned before, just to get a feel for what being on that side of the business entailed. I had specific questions about the role, the team and the industry to gain a better understanding of the work.

Informational interviews can be just as important to prepare for, and all the same rules as a formal job interview apply. You never know when that new connection you made will come in handy! Below are some questions you could consider…


  •        How long have you been in the industry?
  •        What trends are you seeing that could impact how this work gets done?
  •       What traits or experiences would make someone successful in your area?

And yes, thank you notes are still strongly encouraged for informational interviews!

Lesson #3: Stay patient

It’s really easy for us as young professionals to decide we want something and want to make it happen right away.  In the months after my meeting with the hiring manager for the digital marketing role I was interested in, I continued to express interest to my manager and asked for opportunities to gain exposure to that area wherever possible.

It wasn’t until about 8 months later that a position came open on that exact same team, and I was lucky enough to interview and get the job! In today’s day and age, 8 months seems like a lifetime but as cheesy as it sounds, anything worth having is worth the wait. 

Recap

It’s easy to stay comfortable in your current job and run through the motions, but when you get that itch to do something different, follow your gut and do it! I have learned so much and been provided so many cool experiences after taking that step outside of my comfort zone. And, most importantly, I have a totally refreshed view of putting in those 40 hours a week.

Hopefully this article has given you confidence and advice!  (or just something to think about the next time you're second guessing yourself in your cubicle)

Until next time,

Kayleigh



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