When I started my career it was a traditional progression. A spot in the Macy’s Exec Training program, followed by 8 yrs and 8 positions with the Tony retailer.
That’s where my life and career took a divergent path. As Macy’s entered bankruptcy and the work world around me started to change drastically, I made the decision to go to Century 21 stores, an emerging but little known retailer in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. reflectively not the best choice, except it elevated my salary 40% and positioned me to move from Operations to HR.
Years later after a 3 year stint at The Limited Inc., I moved from retail to manufacturing, then to financial services and currently to an Education/non-profit.
Many would have weathered the storm at Macy’s, and some did with success to varying degrees. Had I accepted a promotion at the Limited with a move to Columbus Ohio in 1999, I might not be writing this post today (I might still be there as I loved my short stint with them). Additionally my 11 years at Leviton were probably my best and most successful. Disrupting myself and moving to a challenging accounting and financial services organization was a big risk, especially after my success with the global manufacturer.
Hind sight is always 20-20. Of course the occasional thoughts cross my mind about my choices. But I have always been driven by possibilities and opportunities…one might say an optimist that is always looking for the next new challenge.
And making these moves have brought challenges beyond my wildest dreams. It has also brought unique growth and skills that would never had been acquired without taking the risks. Yes I failed a couple of times too. The 4 national awards and the locals ones come at a price. To succeed and excel you have to be willing to fail. You also have to be willing to accept that some folks will not appreciate, understand, or buy in to your decisions and actions. Even at Leviton, it took almost 4 yrs. as the head of HR until the trust came across the entire senior team.
Results speak volumes to trust and respect. Anyone can posture how great their programs and work is. Backing it up is a different story.
Working in 6 different organizations (7 if you count my part-time role as a sr. adjunct professor at Adelphi) has provided a chance to live in 6 different and distinct cultures. Like country’s with different languages and customs. It is true that no 2 organizations are a like (even the 3 retailers I worked for the first 14 yrs. of my career are all vastly different). So having some variety and experiences is helping me as we build an exciting HR/Talent organization at Success.
Speaking of country’s and culture, I got to see a lot of the USA with the Limited and Marcum, and the world with Leviton. Having the chance to visit Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mexico City and other far off cities provides memories I will cherish.
At my new gig it’s still a little early to say what the legacy will be. One thing for sure is that I have taken the variety of experiences in past roles and blended them into a winning cocktail in building the best HR/Talent organization in the Charter School space nationally.
So taking the road less traveled may pay some dividends as I near the end of the journey (or lets just say this leg of the journey).
What should you do? I can’t answer that…only you can.