What if I told you I had the answer to one the oldest career advice questions?
And that the answer shouldn’t be that surprising but it’s one you need to hear anyway?
Or that my answer applies to practically any industry, at least any job that requires you to interact with your customers or co-workers in person.
Even in 2018, that still covers… just about everyone.
So the question I’m talking about: what’s the best way to accelerate your career?
Answer: volunteer do to what’s needed but nobody else wants to do. Specifically, volunteer to pick up your life and move to somewhere you would have never considered if it wasn’t for your professional well being.
If you have been reading my stuff for a while, you know what I think about creating your own luck in your career.
Relocating is just one way you can help create your own luck. Volunteering for a difficult assignment on a project could also work but can sometimes get tricky once the project ends.
You might be wondering the best way to go about doing this so I’ll tell you the best way I know how, by giving you an example of what I did.
You see, I recently moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Did I know anyone there? Nope. Had I ever spent any time there? Not really? Was I scared to do it? Absolutely.
So why did I do it?
On the business side, there are no partners in my section and function alignment, so I saw an opportunity from a client and internal leadership perspective.
On the personal side, we weren’t totally thrilled with our quality of life – dealing with sociopathic landlords, outlandish real estate prices, living so far that delivery services didn’t come to our house (what’s the point in living in Silicon Valley if you can’t have food just show up at your door), and both of us working insane hours just to do it.
How did I do it?
I just asked. I went to the partner who brought me in, explained my family situation and asked what options I had. He gave me some options to consider and told me to talk about it with my wife. I talked to my wife and friends and other people in the firm and had the idea in my head for about a year before actually committing to anything.
In the meantime, I kept delivering the high quality work that’s key to making people want to be flexible to help you instead of risking the chance of you walking away from the firm.
We also promised our kids a puppy to take the sting out of the move…
What assurances did I get on my future?
There are no guarantees but you can get people on record supporting your cause. Once you do that, it’s important to hold people accountable and keep a regular dialogue to avoid any divergence in understanding.
The main thing, though, is you have to deliver. If you move and can’t produce the results – or you realize you don’t actually want the life your chosen career path requires – then you know you gave your career everything you could. And you move on, without hesitation and without regret. Nothing is permanent.
You always have a choice.