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3 things you can do right now to be more flexible at work

Jeanie Han, CEO of LINE U.S.Jeanie Han, CEO of LINE U.S.
Jeanie Han, CEO of LINE U.S.

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “How do you go from a worker bee to a decision maker?” is by Jeanie Han, CEO of LINE U.S.

Education offers a strong foundation for moving up the career ladder, but you can’t undervalue the importance of real world work experience. Hands-on experience is critical in developing instincts that often cannot be taught in the classroom. Below are three things to consider when making the transition from worker bee to decision maker:

Diversify your skills
When I was studying for my PhD, I realized the majority of my life was spent in school. After further thought, I decided I wanted to be outside of the classroom and in the workforce before committing myself to a career in academia. I got a job as a management consultant in the entertainment sector, and really loved it. A few months into doing a project for DreamWorks Pictures, they offered me a position, which is how I got my start in the movie business.

My point is: You never know how your past jobs can influence your future career path so don’t view experience in different fields as a waste of time. My movie and entertainment experience helped me transition into the tech field at LINE. As a decision maker, you need to have skills that can be applied in different situations–so try a range of things that will help give you a broader perspective and knowledge base to make key decisions.

Find a balance
Having a life outside of work is important, but sometimes you will need to put in those extra hours at work if you want to get ahead. I try not to put up very strict boundaries and instead focus on finding a balance that works best for me. I’m always thinking about work outside of the office. In fact, I often come up with my best ideas when I’m not at work. However, you won’t be successful either way if you don’t take care of yourself both mentally and physically. Nobody can make smart decisions when they’re burnt out.

Don’t be afraid of change
Growing up I was constantly thinking about my career path and never would have anticipated being where I am now. I always envisioned myself in academia. As if transitioning into business development at Paramount Pictures wasn’t a big enough leap, I never expected to take it one step further and eventually end up in the mobile space. LINE presented the perfect opportunity to marry my content background with the rapidly growing mobile space to help build an entertainment app. In order to become a decision maker, you have to take those risks and be flexible in your career path.

Read all answers to the Leadership Insider question: How do you go from a worker bee to a decision maker?

How to show you’re ready for a promotion by Suzanne Dowd Zeller, chief human resources officer at Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America.

3 tips for first-time managers by John Ambrose, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development at Skillsoft.

Why leaders need to focus on how they treat employees by Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder and CEO of VaynerMedia.

Why your job title doesn’t actually matter by Ryan Smith, CEO of Qualtrics.

Why this CEO believes you should be more opinionated at work by Sarah Kauss, CEO and founder of S’well.

How to be more bossy at work (in a good way) by Joe Hyrkin, CEO of Issuu.

The advantages of a tough boss by Sunil Rajaraman, co-founder of Scripted.com.

How to smoothly transition from a colleague to a managerby Nir Polak, CEO and co-founder of Exabeam.

4 signs you’re ready to be a manager by Dominic Paschel, vice president of corporate finance and investor relations at Pandora Media.