How did you figure what you love to do?
Everyone I know goes through a period in life where the grass is greener on the other side. For me, since you are asking about our personal story and profession – I was burned out in my previous career. I worked too much, too fast and was driven by making good money. I felt the gap widening between what I wanted to do and what I was actually doing. I started to feel large spans of time where I was engulfed in work, and not able to enjoy vacations, family time or even restful sleep due to the constant stress of work in my life.
I went back through my various jobs and responsibilities, thinking about those times when I was really passionate and when work didn’t seem like work at all. What I realized was that I was pretty good at several jobs, but that didn’t make them a good fit for me. So I did some soul searching and recognized what most of my jobs had in common. I found many examples of my abilities to teach, motivate and work in teams. Once I found the “key,” I was able to match that to my new and current career.
Everyone’s career path is unique, and when you find your true calling, then you feel as if you’re no longer swimming against the tide, but riding with the wind at your back. Posted on Quora Sep 24. Follow Jessica Manca on Quora
What is the single greatest piece of career advice you’ve ever gotten?
“No one can ever fault you for trying to improve yourself” – for those times that you may feel vulnerable and insecure. This advice comes from a deep place of self-reliance and ignores the fear associated with taking risks. Posted on Quora Sep 14. Follow Jessica Manca on Quora
Can someone switch careers from doing Speech Therapy to a career in Finance by going back to school at the age of 27?
I can understand your frustration. I’ve changed careers several times myself (Graphic Designer, Java Programmer, Project Manager, Career Coach), but always with a gentle leap to the next thing. The fact that you’ve made the commitment to yourself to make a change right now is a great first step. What I would advise is that you carefully weigh options and plan for the transition itself. There is no “best and quickest option” for making this happen, unfortunately.
Your next job opportunity could be a stepping stone to reach your mid- to long-term goals. You shouldn’t need to necessarily go back to school and ramp up as you did with your first career path. Job experience is extremely valuable and can be explained in a way that bridges the story to others, especially recruiters. Develop your personal brand and narrative to explain your previous experience. (See related A Stronger Way to Describe Your Work Experience). Whatever the next steps are for you, please be assured that your previous work experience is not wasted but lays the foundations for you finding your passion.
What keeps you motivated?
The key to motivation is finding work that leverages your independence, your talent and aligns to a greater purpose that you are passionate about.
What one assumption have you bet your career on?
In my previous life in software and consulting, I knew I would always have a job if I stayed close to managing data itself or the people who manage data.
Now, my assumption is that we all have work stress and need to talk about it.
What does a new CEO need to learn quickly?
A young or fast-tracked CEO should learn the lessons learned within the company culture and leverage the existing thought-leadership across them board members or other advisors established. The CEO needs to be humble about all that they don’t know. Through understanding what unique talents the senior leadership team brings to the organization, the CEO will be able to determine if they are in fact, the right leaders for his/her senior team. Posted on LinkedIn, July 31
What career advice would you give to those 10-15 years younger than you? What would you have done differently? What things would you have handled the same way?
In my young career, I have already made a couple of mistakes by closing doors that I wish I would have kept open. As I go through the next stage in my career, I would love to learn from those who had made the journey before me.
My best career advice is to stay true to who you are. It’s easier said than done. Here’s some steps to remember:
*Listen to your inner voice: Trust your gut instinct and initial reaction in life and at work. If something feels wrong, it likely is.
*Know yourself: What are your unique talents? What comes naturally to you? Make sure your work doesn’t stray too far from the type of work that motivates you. Stretch roles are great, but they may not work for everyone.
*Be genuine: Sometimes when people are looking to advance their career, they can put on an act. Not only does that show a lack of self-confidence, but also takes energy away from just being yourself and excelling at your job.
*Work with passion. Find “flow” experiences in everything you do. Learn to see things with fresh eyes, pay attention and be present in the moment. Try letting go of multi-tasking. Appreciate things just as they are – good and bad.
*Money isn’t everything: Many of my friends and peers find they reach a plateau in their career around their mid to late 30s where they are paid very well. However, they aren’t fulfilled by their work and realize that making a good income usually comes with working too many hours or being too stressed to enjoy it.
*Have fun: Don’t take yourself too seriously and miss out on having fun, meeting great people, making a difference and being fulfilled at what you do! Posted on July 24, LinkedIn
The Social Economy: the rise of social networking?
I read an interesting article called “The Social Economy is the Only Answer to Our Crisis of Trust,” and the line that stood out the most was this: “Economic winners will be those institutions and individuals who successfully build trust in their brands, or who create platforms that facilitate trusted interaction. Those who remain disconnected or distrustful will be left behind.”
What is your take on this article?
Agree. Technology can disconnect us making us seem to have real connections to individuals, but at the end of the day it is our brand loyalty and trust that can’t be bought nor fully realized by the limitations of virtual “likes” and “follows.” That kind of trust where a brand can really do no harm, takes years to foster and realize. Often, that trust is established when the individual goes through several trial and tribulations with the brand and remains satisfied with the customer service and quality they received.
Any organization that thinks that having a certain number of “follows” really translates into business or sales is dreaming. This type of positive feedback is likely transactional and temporary.
Reminds me of a movie quote, “Without trust, there is no love. Posted on July 23, LinkedIn
I was wondering if a personality assessment for my personal and professional growth might help me know myself better or if should I be considering something more or different?
I want to be more effective in my company. I have continued my education, focused on learning new skills that contribute to our projects, and try hard to be available for supporting our team efforts.
As a Deloitte alumni, I understand the corporate culture you work in and the need to stay competitive. As you grow within the firm, you will undoubtedly need to understand your natural talents and be able to carve a path that fits your personal and professional goals.
Taking personality assessments would be a good start to understanding your drivers, your motivators and your filters for how to see and deal with work. There are countless ones out there – Disc, Myers Briggs, Color personality and more…Once you better understand your own personal strengths and development areas, you will begin to learn how best to tackle your personal action plan and next steps in the most effective way possible.
Posted on July 16, LinkedIn
I have been in testing/QA role with product companies for the last 11 years and now want to move out of this role. What are the areas/options available for me to change within software/IT.
As a senior resource with 11 years QA experience, your knowledge across those years is your strongest value proposition to the company. Where do you think the company could best use your skills? Does training, business analysis or support areas interest you?
Here’s some possible suggestions as your next steps:
- Understand what positions are open with the company. View internal and external job postings as research. Don’t apply, but be knowledgeable about what’s open today.
- Speak to your boss and HR about positions that you feel you qualify for. It’s best to be upfront with your leadership and position your reason for changing roles in the positive such as, “With my knowledge, I can help the organization in even more significant ways..” Your boss will appreciate this heads up, and be more likely to support your professional growth within the company.
- Keep an open mind. Most roles even by definition are not exactly the same in reality. Roles can evolve and adapt as the company grows. Your current position may still be an opportunity for you.
- Be prepared to answer what you would like to do long-term should you change out of QA entirely. The next goals for your career within a different department would best be served if it capitalized on QA and testing experience.