Building a Career is a Stepping Stone, Not a Bungee Jump

Imagine arriving in New York as a young man from small-town U.S.A. with dreams of becoming the next Wall Street superstar.  What happened next was not an instant leap to success but a slow slog toward achieving a vision.  In this age of “instant” everything – instant data, instant entertainment, instant friends – we learn to expect “instant success.”  But the reality is that for most people, it will never be a bungee jump to the corner office.  From this young man’s story, we can see that building a rewarding career requires a series of steps.  

First, he studied the biographies of financial titans to learn their secrets of success.  From their challenges, he knew he had a difficult road ahead.   However, he did not become discouraged and instead made a conscious decision to believe he had the same chance as everyone else, even though minorities on Wall Street were underrepresented.  You see, he thought that a negative mindset would hold him back and destroy his confidence in interviews.  

As he applied, he was persistent, knowing that even an internship or entry-level Wall Street job would get his foot in the door so he could prove himself.  Obstacles, naysayers, and disappointing results didn’t cloud his vision.  After each interview, he dissected the feedback and improved his approach.  Overall, he knew that success would come his way if he worked hard, made good choices, and believed in his preparation, skills, and experience.  Eventually, he accepted and excelled in an unpaid internship and was hired by a top financial firm.  Again, he credited being prepared, belief in his abilities, persistence, and willingness to push through obstacles for his success.  If you want to achieve your dream, here are some steps to consider: 

The first stepping stone is preparation. 

Likely you have had some college or technical education in the field you are pursuing.  But if not, do not give up.  With some determination and research, most people can access the training and knowledge they need to make a start.  Many industries are begging for workers and willing to train.  If you don’t know what skills are required, see your local job center or community college career center.   You can also visit a related business and ask to speak with human resources or discuss opportunities with an expert staffing agency like Partnership Employment.

Hard work is essential. 

Overblown expectations followed by laziness result in disappointment.  Cultivate a strong work ethic.  A dream job rarely falls in someone’s lap without resume prep, research, application submissions, multiple interviews, and follow-ups.  It has often been said that you should treat your employment hunt as your only job.  Do not expect success without doing the hard work.

Take risks. 

Accepting an unpaid internship without a job guarantee later is a risk.  But doing what it takes to achieve a goal often means setting aside fear, stepping forward into an opportunity, and, if necessary, learning on your own time what is needed to excel.  First, tell yourself, “You can do this!” and then step forward in a disciplined fashion.

Build your network. 

Yes, YouTube can teach us many things.  But one thing it can’t teach us is wisdom.  Therefore, develop a network of mature adults with real-life experience for career advice, idea exploration, and to help you grow as a person.  Mentorship is time-honored for a reason.  Author Lailah Gifty Akita said, “Every great achiever is inspired by a great mentor,” so find an experienced person willing to walk alongside those stepping stones with you.

Be accountable. 

Are you willing to own your mistakes along the way and take responsibility?  Can you push through despite obstructive people, barriers, and circumstances and own the results?  Former President Obama said it best, “When times get tough, we don’t give up.  We get up.”  Do not blame others for failures, bad luck, or poor decisions.  Learn and go on. 

A journey to a satisfying career is a series of steps involving preparation, hard work, risk-taking, accountability, and help from others, not a bungee jump to immediate success.  Now is the best time to job hunt if you are currently unemployed before those expanded stimulus benefits run out and out-of-work people flood the market.  If you need help in your job search or wonder what opportunities are available in your chosen career, why not call Partnership Employment today?  With decades of staffing industry experience, their partners are looking to recruit great candidates for some of the top companies in finance, accounting, office administration, legal, IT, and HR.  Read our helpful blogs for job seekers and access a list of recent Partnership Employment job openings here!