Milken Institute School of Public Health
Gillings School of Global Public Health
Growing anything can be a challenge, whether it’s a company or a career. SEOmoz recently hired its 100th employee and Rand Fishkin, CEO, posted a video detailing some of the lessons he learned about scaling a company. Whether you’re in public health, education, technology or any number of fields, applying these five take-aways can help scale your career.
#1 Self-analysis is important.
In his video, Rand mentioned that he is constantly asking himself, “What did I do right? What did I do wrong?” It’s important to evaluate what’s working and what’s not. Are you doing well in your job? Do you enjoy your work? Do you feel like you’re succeeding? Are you able to balance your work and home lives to keep yourself well-rounded? Reflect often to determine what you’re doing right and what you could change to make things better, and make adjustments as needed.
#2 For long-term success, you must build people skills.
Rand tells about an incident where one person’s mistake resulted in a two-week delay updating Mozscape. In some companies, co-workers and team members would have given this guy hell, but that didn’t happen. Instead, the attitude was, “We’re going to work with this guy and we’ll get better.”
Job skills and training will only get you so far. Building good relationships with your co-workers, supervisors, and team members is much more important in the long run. When people care about each other and the company and work together well as a team, everyone is happier and more productive.
#3 Management is not the only path to success.
At some point in most people’s careers, there comes a point where you feel like you can’t go any higher without entering management, but being an outstanding programmer, customer service representative, or engineer doesn’t necessarily make you a good manager. Management is a whole different animal.
Rand speaks highly of employees who have given management a try and stepped down, realizing that the management position was not a good fit for them. You can be successful without being in management. Find a way to challenge yourself at what you are already good at. If you feel that you’ve reached the top of the career arc at your current place of employment, consider whether your talents and skills can be better utilized in another position at a different company.
#4 You must have a backup plan.
Remember Murphy’s law? If something can go wrong, it will. If your job is critical, your employer may already have a plan in place to replace you if you should suddenly quit or become unable to work. What is your backup plan? Do you have an emergency fund in place to take care of your family if you have to go on medical leave?
On the flip side, what if a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity comes your way and you find yourself needing to make a decision right away? Are you ready to jump at the chance? Having someone trained to take over your job in a pinch gives you the freedom to explore new career opportunities. At the same time, it ensures that there is someone to cover for you if you ever want to take a vacation.
What about you?
What are you doing to scale your career? Do you perform regular self-analysis? How are your people skills? How will you know when you’ve achieved success? What does your ideal career look like? What is your backup plan? Ask yourself these questions regularly to make sure you stay on track as you strive to attain success in your career.