There have been plenty of opportunities in my career that I did not want to pursue, but I did anyway just to get my foot in the door for what I really wanted.
I remember making a risky move to become an entry-level collector for a company in southeastern Wisconsin when I already had several years of default experience under my belt. I knew working for this company would be the perfect launching pad for my career into management because that was my ultimate goal.
I needed to re-brand myself as a professional. I also needed to learn how to support my peers and my managers by coming to work every day, understanding the product I was collecting on and understanding the company’s DNA.
This also meant I had to work in the evenings and Saturdays. That proved to be challenging because at that time I had an infant. However, I was able to develop a great support system that permitted me to launch my corporate career. It also allowed me to be flexible so I could commit to additional responsibilities and to learn how my role fit into the "BIG" picture.
My first experience in management was a team lead position. I had to collect the same amount of money as my team, but also take on additional responsibilities so I could be my supervisor’s "go to" person. Through this experience I quickly learned the importance of knowing team members as people, not just warm bodies in a chair.
When I became a supervisor, I learned and developed a deeper appreciation for leadership. This was done through mentorship and lessons learned. I made so many mistakes, but I learned from them and had a management staff around me who understood that I was still very green but had the potential. This was such a great launching pad for my career. If I had not made that risky move, I would not be where I am today.
I encourage anyone who is looking to make a career change to think about tangible goals, seek out companies that encourage team member growth/development and take prudent risks. There will be a sensation of career fulfillment and the drive to keep reaching for more.