In every career, no matter the industry, people are always looking to advance within their career field. It can be easy to get caught up with the next better career for a larger paycheck or a higher title, but career growth is about more than that. As Trent Patterson, the Facilities Manager for Haverty Furniture Companies Inc., says, “Career growth is not a race but instead a journey, so each lesson learned, or goal achieved, should become the foundation for the professional you are determined to become in this industry.”
Henry Ford once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”
This is especially true in today’s modern world of fast-paced technological advancements and rapidly changing environments. If you are not continuously learning about new developments in operations and maintenance, then you are already falling behind.
Patterson says, “The technology and equipment that was available ten years ago is now obsolete, and the same resources offered today will soon be replaced.”
How are you working to stay ahead of industry changes and become a more prepared and knowledgeable employee that is ready for the adoption of new technologies, processes and information as the industry adopts them?
Mentorship is often cited as one of the most important ways to grow within your career. The knowledge and insight of another professional who has years of experience is invaluable. Many times, a mentor will have advice about how to deal with your current challenges, avoid pitfalls and grow a successful career. It was not that long ago that they were in those shoes too, and they can give you the insight of how they were able to successfully navigate them.
To find a mentor, look for someone who has had a successful career, that you look up to, and who has the heart of a teacher. You want someone that you not only look up to, but also someone who has the skill and desire to sit down and guide you through the struggles in your career.
A great example of mentorship is when Patterson decided to become a Building Engineer with the advice of his father.
“It was during my time as an operations manager that I began evaluating my future. With the wisdom and guidance from my father, I decided to become a Building Engineer since I had previously been working in the HVAC, plumbing and electrical field. That was the defining moment in my career, and it has provided me with opportunities to grow and advance in this industry.”
The other part of mentorship is in turn to mentor those who have less experience than yourself. Giving back by mentoring others not only allows you to contribute back towards the overall success of the industry, but it also helps you to see challenges in a new light. Sometimes, it requires helping solve someone else’s problems to see your own challenges in a new light.
One of the keys to advancing in your career personally or advancing your company’s interests is to learn how to think long term. Instead of getting stuck up on momentary setbacks, keep your focus on the big impacts of decisions you make every day. How can you make decisions now that will help you to become better rounded, more prepared, or help move your company forward to be more prepared for changes in the industry?
Patterson says that, “Regardless if the obstacle is communication, personalities or decision making I always try to overcome the situation by deciding what is best for my owners, customers and myself. As long as my decision factors in those three elements, then I can overcome any obstacle.”
Always stay focused on what the core of your business is, serving your customers. Let what is best for them guide your decision making. To set yourself up for the future and career advancement, find new and better ways to serve them.