During my studies in Business Administration, I started an internship in Human Resources at the head office of a large international company. Once graduated, I was offered my first job at this same company whereby I entered the field of Compensation & Benefits. To be honest, during my studies I was never aware of this type of job but as I never had a very specific job choice in mind and therefore chose a more generic type of studies, I was more than happy to take on this opportunity.
It’s now three years later and I recently switched employers but continued in the same work field. What I like about my job is that I can see so many different topics and challenges for me to discover and learn more about. An important driver for me is to continue learning and developing myself and experience new things, whether this is in my work or personal life. Nothing gives me more energy than knowing there are still so many directions and places my career can take me. Some more obvious than others. For example to move across functions, to work abroad, move from a head office role into a more local role, from a supportive function to a business function, from working in a multinational to working in a start-up. But recently one of my former bosses, reminded me that also the ‘smaller’ work experiences can have a great impact on your career. A few weeks ago I helped out in a supermarket for two days as my new employer is in the retailing business and it definitely opened up my eyes to the many processes behind running such a store which I had never realized when going there as a customer.
When I think about the role models that I’ve had in my career so far, they are never the people who stuck to one area of expertise throughout their working lives. They are usually the people who have worked in different functions, companies, countries and do not only excel in their area of expertise but are able to link their job to the processes and practices of other functions and ultimately the bigger picture of the company. They are also the ones that always encourage me to look beyond my own comfort zone.
You hear a lot recently about ‘the stress of choice’ among people in their twenties and thirties because we want it all and are afraid to sacrifice one thing when we choose another. For me this is not the case. Knowing there will be plenty of opportunities and choices to come makes me feel very fortunate and I can’t wait to make those choices. Even though you might make a wrong choice, it will rarely have a definite nature and you will have most likely learned something along the way. And even if it is not necessarily something that helps to build your resume, life is just way more exciting with a great variety of experiences!
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