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March 30th, 2016 at 2:49 pm

How to ‘own your career’


You’ve been waiting for your manager to define your career path. It’s time to reevaluate. The future belongs to the early adopters, the eager learners and the ones who are willing to take a chance on themselves.

NOTE: For anyone wishing to own their own career in computer programming, check out the upcoming courses at DaVinci Coders. New classes starting soon.


Retail’s BIG Show Student Program kicked off with two solid hours of career advice from six people who have found success in their retail careers, from social media and supply chain to store management and digital strategy. The room was filled with a record number of attendees — 500 students and 100 educators — but the insights shared on stage can help anyone, in any role, get to the next level in their retail career.

Be generous. “Help someone else. It will come back tenfold. Good karma is good business,” says Aliza Licht, author of “Leave Your Mark.” And when someone goes out of her way to help you, make sure you follow up to express your appreciation.

Think ahead. Your career is like a game of chess, says The Home Depot’s Chris Howard. Think about where you want to be a few moves from now and learn as much as possible in your current position. Instead of expecting your company to provide a mentorship program, think about what you really want to do and find your own mentor.

Act like a buffalo. Yes, a buffalo. Mike Ciulis shared a favorite anecdote from his boss at Nike: On the prairie, there are buffalos and cows. Cows run away from the storm, buffalos run into it. That helps the buffalos get through it faster … and it’s a good reminder to meet challenges head on.

All the world’s an interview. Remember that you’re interviewing all the time — every moment, every person you talk to, Howard says. The world is much smaller than it seems, and the person sitting next to you may be your boss someday.

Open up to new experiences. Being willing to relocate is necessary for growth, especially in retail. Buffalo Exchange’s Christina Usatenko says if you’re willing to go anywhere and do anything, you can move up the ranks more quickly.

Speak up. Take notes, meet with as many people as you can and don’t be afraid to speak up and share ideas and insights, says Walgreens’ Stephanie Mihaly. You’re not too young or experienced to contribute, so take your seat at the table with confidence.

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