Career development and mobility is top of mind for today’s workforce. In fact, a recent survey found that an astounding 87% of millennials rated “professional or career growth and development” as important to them when evaluating a job.
Despite development being so sought after, it’s important to remember that it’s not a one size fits all. Growth and advancement can take many twists and turns and vary greatly from one career to the next (promotions, stretch assignments, lateral moves). Take a moment to reflect on your own career. How did you get started? What did it take to get there? For many, including myself, we quickly realize the growth we’ve had wasn’t via the path we initially expected.
To learn more, I sat down with Sr. Category Merchant, Anne, to discuss her professional development journey within Staples. She shared a few key moments that shaped her career and some lessons learned along the way. Here’s what she had to say:
Tell us about your journey at Staples.
I started through the Northeastern co-op program and worked with the product brands team. Since then, I’ve held multiple roles that led to my most recent and current job as a Sr. Category Merchant.
How has Staples helped your career development?
I attribute my growth at Staples to two factors: setting goals for myself and gaining support from my supervisor and cross-functional team. The teams that I’ve worked on have been very supportive of my individual development plan.
What have been the key moments or events that have shaped your career?
Early in my career, as a product developer, I had the opportunity to travel to China, Korea and Japan. I visited product factories and observed firsthand how the production lines work. This experience helped me to excel at my job.
Another key moment was when I worked as lead coordinator for the Staples and Northeastern co-op program, helping to onboard the incoming interns. I enjoyed mentoring and contributing to the success of the students. Hearing about their goals and ambitions was invigorating; it gave me the energy I needed to focus on my own career growth.
What lessons can others draw from your experience? Do you have any advice for them?
I went to school for marketing and management, but my first job was not directly related to my major. By taking risks and challenging myself along the way, I gained skills that opened doors for new opportunities. Although I’m a goal setter, I never envisioned my career path taking this route. My advice for others is to focus more on the skillsets you want to gain and less about the title. Take risks that provide you with the opportunity to learn and grow. Don’t let the fear of failure prevent you from developing.
What’s next on your career bucket list?
I want to continue learning new skills as I grow in my career. I’d like to polish my executive decision-making skills on complex functional issues and problems, and better understand the driving forces behind consumer behavior. With the rise of mobile, and consumer behavior changing, digital marketing is another area I’d like to explore further. Lastly, I’d love to inspire younger generations to excel and take risks.
Want to develop your career with Anne? Join our growing team.