2 March 2019 - Exploring the career path

A few weeks ago we had a career week at my company. It was an opportunity to take some time to think about our own personal development. Each day we were presented with a motivational message from one of our C-suite members on a particular learning from their own career progress in relation to a company value. 

As part of the week each employee was invited to attend a growth workshop which was held by an external company specialising in learning and development. Each session lasted around 2 hours and was filled with interactive elements. I attended a manager orientated one which focused on both how to help my team identify and achieve their goals in addition to looking at my own career path options.  

With my manager head on, for one of the tasks I was asked to think about one employee and consider what skills they were good at and which needed development, in order to make them a more rounded individual. Once the gap had been identified, I then had to think about what could be done to close it. 

Of course we could do that exercise for ourselves and it got me wondering how often we actually spend time to reflect on our personal strengths and weaknesses. It can be a genuinely challenging task to do and we have to consider that how we see ourselves may also differ to that of another opinion. This can bring both positive and negative results and generally this is the main reason why we hesitate to action any such request. But just suppose the feedback you received was positive? Maybe you think you have a certain skill base of XYZ whereas a third party could see a huge potential and career path if you tried ABC instead. Sometimes we need to take that leap and receive that feedback. 

I was once told that feedback is a gift, no matter the tone of the remarks. Its how you choose to work with it that brings its benefits. Information received may reinforce your current career direction or help you understand if there are some things you may need to change, whether that be behaviour to fit in, or a bigger change to find a better match. 

In addition to the workshop the HR team had been busy in the background looking at each department and designing what a career path could look like. PowerPoint slides were shared on the trajectory of each business section. Technically my team sits within Engineering and I looked at it and thought it was limiting. You were either a Manager or Engineer and continued to more senior levels until VP. I also thought it was a bit strange why the path stopped at VP. Were we not allowed to aspire to a C-suite level, or maybe even the Board?

I decided to create my own for a Salesforce orientated career path. I've based this on my own portfolio career direction but I don't see that as a bad thing. In fact, I think it has helped to shape the person I am today and bring the wealth of knowledge to help businesses transform, with the help of Salesforce as the main tool in my armoury. 

Check out the career path I've created. Its more like career spaghetti, if I'm honest, but I also think it shows that with Salesforce there are so many career options available to you to explore. There is no longer a linear route that one must take and even now I know that I don't have every option listed.

I suppose what I am saying is that we are the curators of our career path. We don't have to follow the line that is set before us. We can challenge it, continue to explore and carve out new routes. It can be exciting and scary but if we never do it then we never give ourselves the opportunity to grow. 



  1. Interesting seeing how you've mapped this out. My advice for anyone wanting to 'travel right' on their career is to ensure they have some experience across the whole breadth of these roles. As a CTO I need to also understand product management, procurement processes, project management challenges, finance and sales. I'd extend this to every level, the more you understand what motivations and challenges your peers have and you'll be a better PM, Architect, Dev, Admin, Change or Product resource and able to progress to the next level of your chosen role.


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