When I moved on from my last agency and accepted a job offer at Seer, one of my biggest reasons for doing so was because I was looking for a challenge and growth opportunity. I’ve been working at Seer for a little over half a year now, and in such a short amount of time, I’ve learned a lot about how to achieve professional growth. Here are 3 things that have allowed me to set myself up for success during my first 6 months at Seer:
3 Things I Learned About Professional Growth
Mentorship can make all the difference - be proactive and seek it.
One of the things I love most about Seer is how open everyone is (including our Leadership team) to having 1:1s with each other to talk through any challenges or wins. Mentorship helped me navigate my undergrad experience as a first-generation college student, and being proactive about seeking it has been ingrained in me ever since. I’ve had the opportunity to connect with my fellow team members and almost all of Seer’s Leadership team within my first 6 months alone to gain insight about how to level up professionally during my time here.
I can’t even begin to explain how valuable it’s been for me to learn about the experiences of others as I go about my own - and being proactive about seeking mentorship has undoubtedly helped me envision what I want for myself and my career long-term so much more clearly.
Seeking out mentors has given me the opportunity to cultivate bonds with those that I might not directly work with and feel more appreciated knowing that there are people who want to see and help me succeed. Listening to personal stories from my mentors about how they overcame a challenge or what they learned never fails to give me hope. They remind me to trust in my own growth process, embrace the highs, and be humbled by the lows.
It can be daunting to think about reaching out to a co-worker (let alone an executive of the company) for the first time to get professional advice, but lean into that discomfort and see what doors it can open or what revelations it can bring.
Be receptive to constructive feedback - but also think about how you need someone to communicate it.
Listening to feedback from either a manager or a co-worker is a no-brainer for anyone who wants to improve, but what can really help move the needle in your professional growth is understanding how it needs to be communicated in order for you to make changes. Here are some questions to keep in mind when thinking about how you receive feedback:
- Do you need someone to be completely candid (no sugarcoating here!) and tell you exactly what you’re doing wrong?
- Do you need someone to soften the blow a bit by praising you on what you did right before getting to the feedback?
- Do you need someone to be more thoughtful about their feedback by offering suggestions to improve?
- Do you need to be told face-to-face or have it written out?
It varies for everyone, and it’s important to communicate how you like to receive feedback in order to make it actionable.
Additionally, learning about how others receive feedback can help clear the air and help you understand how to best work with them. When I started getting staffed on accounts, my AMs and I would have 1:1 meetings where we discuss our working styles and preferences for gaining feedback. Having this conversation early on helped me establish great working relationships with them and establish that I should never take the feedback personal if it’s not delivered in the way that I need. Everyone has their own preference -- and it’s important to remember how valuable it is to be transparent about this especially if there are any differences.
I have seen colleagues refuse to take feedback because of how it was delivered, which hindered their own growth. Think about what you need from others when they shed light on how you can improve, and don’t be afraid to have these conversations and make that known.
Reflect, reflect, reflect - define what growth means to you.
When I started at Seer, I was overwhelmed with learning tons of new things. While that was exciting, I realized that I was so caught up with getting my feet under me and wasn’t dedicating enough time to thinking about how I was growing and what else I needed to continue growing.
Now, I keep a personal journal to reflect on any work wins, challenges, or general thoughts about my professional development as an associate. Reflection allows me to be more self-aware and in tune with what I think my strengths are and where I need to improve. I like to write down any goals I have in my journal so I can keep myself accountable and track my progress over time. During tough work weeks, I like to go back and read through any of my wins to keep myself motivated and productive. Keeping my reflections in a tangible format has me constantly thinking about how I want to grow and what steps I need to take to achieve that.
I’ll end this here by saying one more thing - growth is not always a linear process. There are highs and lows, and everything in between. Your growth may happen at a completely different pace than others - but that’s okay. Keep on trusting the process and in due time, you will end up exactly where you need to be.