The MPW Insiders 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: What’s your best piece of advice for someone looking to change career paths? is written by Carine Clark, president and CEO of MaritzCX.
In the span of my 20-plus year career, I’ve faced many tough career choices. A common thread has been my quest to continually grow and learn new things. Here are some lessons I learned that have helped me confront the unexpected and ultimately succeed.
Don’t get too comfy: If your current position is not presenting new challenges or the person you work for is preventing you from growing, it’s time to move on. You need to foster a set of skills for which people will give you money. Know what you are capable of and how you can make a difference. If needed, don’t be afraid to switch jobs to round out your resume.
Embrace disruption: I have faced many scary moments, including getting fired and a health crisis that could have derailed my career. How we embrace change has a direct impact on how well we can use that to propel forward. Don’t let fear hold you back. By choosing to embrace disruption, it will open opportunities to try new things.
Be prepared to get fired: Living every day expecting to get fired frees me to make better choices. To be in this position, you need to build a rainy day fund and work toward being debt free. Be prepared to be fired and you won’t have to fear saying what needs to be said.
Lose now to win later: Common wisdom in the business world is that you never take a position lower than the one you are in or take a pay cut or a lesser job title. If you do, you will be viewed negatively. But that has not been my experience. In fact, it has been the opposite. Earlier in my career, I left a high-level executive position to join a start-up at a third of my former salary. But what I learned led me to the position I hold today.
Stay true to yourself: It may sound trite, but don’t be afraid to speak up when things are going wrong or you are asked to do things that are contrary to your core beliefs. Don’t just go along, but instead challenge conventional thinking and offer new ideas. Always keep your integrity intact.
Practice abundance: Be joyful, sharing and open in the workplace. Don’t be threatened or try to outdo or outshine others just to get attention. Just because someone else wins doesn’t mean you lose. In the long run, it will reflect well on you and create stronger and better career relationships.
As a CEO, part of my job is hiring others. My best piece of career advice is to trust your instincts and take on new challenges that will allow you to grow. Know what you are good at, what you can offer and how you can make a difference.