Claim your Spot, Earn the respekt


If there is something in my career life that I would have done differently, is claiming my spot very early on and not let everyone walk all over me. There is a lot to unpack from that sentence, so let me try and hopefully it will help someone in their career development, today.

I started my official employment at the age 25, being the youngest at an organization of 600+ people. My first position led me to the Public Relations office where I served for almost a year, and thereafter, I joined my favorite department, Sales and Marketing. I love marketing! I was on fire! Which means I burnt bridges, created pathways where there was none and sometimes, I burnt myself too...but that is a story for another day.

Being the youngest means you are hardly taken serious, especially when you are in an industry that is quite male-dominated. So I had to learn to tame myself and let others talk on my behalf, or sometimes do what I am told even when I knew things could have been done the other way. This worked for the first 2 years, until the frustration that was building inside me, couldn't take it any more. I started to act out and just be stubborn for no reason. As you can as well guess, I received several discipline letters and was called to the HR for insubordination issues. I was ready to quit.

Then one day, my dad asked me to share exactly what it is that frustrated me. Ooooh I had a lot to say! Him being the patient and cool collected man, he listened until i was done. He waited for me to cool down (I was literally sobbing). Then he calmly asked me, "Let alone the activities that you do, what do you see as your role in that organization?"...I was dumbfounded. I had never before, thought beyond my position and the activities I performed for the organization. It took me few minutes to actually come up with an answer, I said " My role is to create a platform that connects the organization and its potential customers/stakeholders."

He smiled and said, "That's correct. Now, are you 100% in control of that role?" I shook my head "No"...because that was indeed the root cause of my frustration. I felt that I was not in control of the role, but I still received all the blames when things went wrong. My dad gave me a long talk about understanding the organization structure and claiming my spot without apologizing for it. He talked about how leadership is about pushing things forward and breaking the barriers that I come across, daily. At the end of our almost 3 hours talk, he bluntly told me, "You are a young lady with so much fire in you. You can do amazing things if you learn to claim your spot, work hard and earn everyone's respect. I believe in you kiddo, don't shrink yourself for anybody". With tears in my eyes, I promised to make him proud.

When I got to work after that weekend, I brought the fire with me. It took less than six months for my then boss to call me, and asked if I wanted to take on more responsibilities. I said YES! I went on to out perform all tasks related to Events Planning and coordination, which was a big part of the Marketing activities.  And after serving for 6 years, my boss gave me his blessings when I asked if I could leave and go to a job that was specifically Events Coordination, at a different organization. 

5 years now and I am loving every single challenge that comes with Event coordination. From organizing events in Rwanda, South Africa, Ghana and almost every major city in Tanzania...Coordinating events that bring together former and current presidents, heads of various regional organizations and African countries, private sector etc... It has been such a ride, and quite fruitful.  I am forever grateful for my father's advise that day.

Let me come back to you. What is that career thing that is currently troubling you? Let's share and discuss in the comments below

Missie Popular

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