I started my first corporate job on January 11, 1982, and I was so happy that I had a traditional business schedule. When I applied for this job, one of the main objectives for having it was working Monday through Friday from 9 AM until 5 PM. I felt like I had arrived when I was part of the American corporate workforce.
I had not completed my BA degree when I accepted this job and started it thinking that I will have to work twice as hard as everyone else to keep my job or to even get promoted to leadership. I did not really have big goals when I first started in this job, in time I came to see all of the possibilities that this company might offer me.
I landed my first promotion when I was asked to lead a division-wide project. I was the co-lead with a more seasoned colleague and together we were charged with preparing the client and customer e-files for transferring them to the new processing system. We had a list of accounts each week that had to prepared and ready to go on to the new system. This project lasted about a year and we completed it successfully together.
That project role lead to my first supervisor role which I thrived in just long enough to know that I was hooked on leadership. I felt a spark in me come alive when I was working with others and seeing them enjoy what they were doing. I had a natural positivity that motivated people to do more than they expected to do.
During the 18 years that I worked with my first company, I was promoted or moving into a new role every two years. This pace worked well for me because I was learning so much in each of my roles. My roles focused on operations leadership, training and development, organizational development, and continuous quality improvement. At the end of my tenure, I had an impressive tool kit and set of skills that quite frankly drew the attention of a recruiter for another company.
For the first time in my corporate career, I was contacted and recruited to join another company. I developed my comfort zone at my first company and was unsure if I was ready to leave the proverbial nest. As it turned out, I was ready for a number of reasons which all made sense at the time.
When I successfully landed my new job at my second corporate company, I could felt my confidence rise. I had earned my BA while working with my previous company and I had an impressive resumé for a guy my age. I was ready to take on new challenges and leave my comfort zone behind.
in the first several months of my new job, I traveled to several operations service centers assessing and analyzing the people and process components of their organization. After I finished a couple of rounds of these fact fading missions, I realized that the best thing for the company and me was to plant me in one of the service centers and let me lead its turnaround.
My thought was that I could develop and implement the needed changes much faster in one location, and then share the best practices across all of the centers with my colleagues. They were capable leaders who had not experienced this kind of large scale change before, so they just needed the experience.
I talked with my manager about my idea and she supported it. The next thing I knew I was having a conversation with a service center leader about joining her team. I remember vividly that during the conversation we were on the same page all the way, and when it came time to talk about my new compensation. I remembered that I was feeling confident and when she offered the number, I was relieved and accepted it. It was my first compensation conversation that resulted in earning 6 figures and I was proud of myself.
The decision to leave my corporate comfort zone resulted in me working for a new company in a new city with an income double what it was when I left the first company less than a year earlier. I gained more than confidence in that experience, I learned some valuable lessons that supported me with future recruiting experiences that landed me some bigger and better jobs. For the first time in my career, I felt like a legitimate corporate citizen.
When I reflect on the Global Corporate Leader I developed into in 2008, I humbled and overwhelmed that I achieved so much during my corporate career. When people call me a leadership mentor or coach, global business subject matter, or a leadership role model, I get emotional and usually shed some tears. Those tears acknowledge the proverbial blood, sweat, and tears I put into achieving my career development goals.
Be assured that every experience that I had over my 35-year corporate career has shaped me into the leader, businessman, and man that I am today. I am proud to reflect on my career achievements and success at this time in my life. I invite you to give attention to your journey knowing that you will one day have the amazing opportunity to have your career and life flash before your eyes, in your mind.
Enjoy the journey.
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