Pyramid of growth

Early on in your career you may have more opportunity to move around to different roles in your organization.  If you can imagine what a pyramid looks like, the base of the pyramid would represent the beginning of your career.  It is here where you will want to jump into different roles across your organization to gain diverse experiences.  Different roles will give you different experiences, which will help you build different skillsets.  Understanding different areas of your organization will make it easier for you to make better decisions.

As you progress in your career and move up in your organization, you are climbing the pyramid to the more focused narrower portion.  At the top narrower portion of the pyramid during the later years of your career, you will have less opportunity to move around to different roles.  This is why you need to move around to different functions in your organization earlier on in your career.  For example, if you are a director of quality, you may not have many opportunities to work in logistics or finance.  If you did want to move around, there is a higher chance of you doing this in the earlier years of your career.

With this being said, I would highly recommend anyone starting out their career to think about roles outside their area of expertise.  Even if you are 5 years to 15 years in, you should look at roles in other functions.  For example, if you work in procurement you may want to look at supply chain or quality.  If you are in product development you may want to look at procurement or regulatory.  A lot of companies today encourage internal movement to different cross-functional roles.  If you are with one of these companies, you should take advantage of it.

It is important to stay in each role for at least two years unless you have a very good reason for leaving that role before you hit your second year.  You should always think two roles ahead of your current role.  This will help you better understand which opportunities you should be open to.  It is not very important to make all your career decisions solely on salary, especially during your earlier years.  It is not until the later years when you are in the harvest phase where you will be pulling in the majority of your money.  This usually happens after 15 to 20 years, you have been in your career.

All of these things I am mentioning here are things I did not always know.  As I move forward in my career I search for advice from people who I consider to be successful.  I meet with them regularly and take copious notes.  If you have other tips on these topics, please feel free to leave comments.

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