“Start today the job you want to do tomorrow” – This was the best career advice I ever received. Renowned, Omar Khan, one of the Top 25 consultants in the World, gave me this advice many many years ago and I still treasure it, use it and spread it.
People often come to me, explaining that they feel they don’t have opportunities in their organizations to grow, and are looking for better (paying) opportunities outside their current employment. Often this might be true, however, over the span of my career, I have learned that the best opportunities come to you when people in decision making positions have confidence in your ability to do something else, to do something more. Their confidence is based on seeing people take action, and responsibilities that are bigger than what they are paid for, even if that goes outside the ‘boxes of the organization chart.’ Change comes to you when you allow yourself the opportunity to illustrate your ambition and spirit.
You might plague yourself with the “what if” questions that come to mind… ‘What if my boss doesn’t recognize it? What if he stops me from taking on more? What if he feels threatened?” These are all sincere worries. If you have a boss that tries to keep you down because he is insecure and afraid of his own job / status then of course this won’t work. However the majority of bosses I have come across, don’t fall into this category. They might not be crowned the world’s best boss, but they also recognize abilities, aptitude and performance.
And hey, if you make the life of your boss easier, which boss wouldn’t like that!
So how does it work, to do the job today that you want to do tomorrow? If for example you want to change your function, let’s say from sales to marketing, then start reading up on the latest case studies in brand management that could be used in your company, have a chat with the marketing manager and share an idea on the next below the line marketing campaign. Volunteer to do extra work in measuring the effectiveness of a marketing campaign in your territory, get your boss to support you to participate in a specific marketing project… etc etc (you get the drift.) Put it out there that you are able and willing, and see how others take notice of your drive.
If you are interested in moving up the ladder and taking on a managerial position, there are many steps you can start with. Take initiative for team improvement projects, or the lead in organizing team events. Recognize other team members publicly for their contribution as a team player, give feedback to your boss on how he can save costs, improve revenue and increase customer satisfaction. Ask to be involved in cross-functional projects, represent your team in other forums and never speak negatively to others about your team and boss.
There are a million ways for you to start today the job you want to do tomorrow. I say, just go for it. What is the alternative? Sulk and wait for others to give what is ‘rightfully yours?’ If that is your strategy in life, keep on waiting…
What initiatives have you been taking today to start working your way to the job you want tomorrow?
– Paul Keijzer