Want to give your team members a gift to show your appreciation this holiday season, but just can’t bring yourself to hand over another coffee mug? How about something a little more meaningful? Something that will have lasting impact their whole career? We asked our team to share the best career gift they ever received. Here’s what they had to say.
The best career gift I received was responsibility. When my former boss and business partner gave me complete responsibility, I thrived. And when I look at my life that has always worked for me. When I feel completely accountable, I can fully own the entire thing. I figure out how to make it work — how to make it successful. As a small business making our way in the world, that worked for me, for him and for Success Labs. So that was a gift. In addition to that, he pointed out what I was especially good at so I could leverage those skills in meaningful ways.
— Devin Lemoine
When I was at Intel, I had a very demanding role as the supply line manager. Oftentimes my workday consisted of back-to-back commitments, late-night meetings, before-the-sun-comes-up conference calls — all combined with managing a large group of people. My boss at the time became aware of my workload and proposed that I should avoid scheduling anything on-site at least one day a week. He also suggested to have that day of the week be as light on work or meetings as possible — AND on that day to not come to the office. To stay home, do whatever I wanted, and of course, try not to “work.” For me, this was a challenge. My children were young at the time — one in preschool and the other in elementary school. Which meant every few weeks or so I volunteered at the school to spend one-on-one time with my little one. I also used these “me days” to run errands, free up my weekend or even simply take a nap — whatever I wanted, it was for Gloria. This permission and push from my boss enabled a true work-life balance. The freedom he provided motivated me to get the most out of my time — at work and at home — and to focus on the things that matter. I began looking for ways to be as effective and efficient as possible. I started to utilize my time wisely in a way I had never done before. Because of that gift I believe I can get anything done. I can work hard, grind when needed and relax when the time comes. I never feel guilty about the time spent working, and I never feel guilty when resting, spending time with my kids, having fun or taking care of myself. In turn, when I have managed people, I have strived to repay the gift.
— Gloria West
A Healthy Balance
A few years ago I read “Mrs. Moneypenny’s Career Advice for Ambitious Women.” Though there are plenty of dog ears in my copy, one point was truly memorable to me: “You can’t have it all.” Most of my life there have been high expectations of my capabilities and output — which creates an environment that I actually thrive in. With that, however, came my own expectations of myself that were even higher — and a bit unrealistic. I eventually let that go and decided to stop living for a fairy tale and live for today. In that moment I changed — I relaxed. I became myself again and began to enjoy my work again. There was a time to note, however, when I wrote off success for myself — having thoughts like “oh, I’ll never be rich or highly successful. That’s just not in my cards.” After hearing that one day, my partner and best friend, Brandon, told me bluntly, “Stop. Yes, you can and you will. You are putting yourself in this mindset so that you can’t fail — but that’s not you. You are smart, creative, passionate and determined. You will be all of those things — rich, successful, have the career you want — whatever it is. You just have to believe it — and do it.” And from that moment I stopped uttering those words. Instead I found a happy medium of letting go of (some of) my perfectionist tendencies, while still holding myself accountable to the belief — and expectation — that I would indeed be successful.
— Chelsea Harris
A Seat at the Table
One of the best career gifts I’ve received was the opportunity given by my boss to sit in on high-level meetings with him. This taught me so many things, like my own professional presence and the “language” of the work. All of this helped set the stage for the nature of the work which lay ahead. This exposure also allowed me to network at a higher level and create some lifelong professional relationships. These experiences allowed me to stretch my wings and truly catapulted my career. I’m always grateful for his willingness to include me at the table and to guide and develop me as a person as well as in my career. This has also taught me the importance of inviting people to the table and giving opportunities for growth, generously.
— Kayne Daigle
I recently received a piece of advice from a professor to take advantage of every opportunity that exists — and so I did just that. Fortunately, I was able to seize the opportunity to join the Success Labs team. Because of that I received the best career gift: The team took a chance on me by viewing me as an asset when I was included on an extremely important project with a high-profile client. This allowed me to directly apply what I am learning in my graduate studies and is setting the stage for my career long term. Not only have I built my presentations skills and grown my knowledge of the content, I have gained confidence and realized my own potential. I have also had the chance to see how to cultivate and grow relationships with clients, which will carry through to any project or role in the future. I would not have been exposed to these projects and clients without the team’s faith in my abilities to grow and succeed.
— Cay Wittenberg
My mentor took me under her wing and taught me everything I needed to know about managing a small business. She showed me the systems and processes — on both the management and financial side. Every day she spent time with me explaining the ins and outs, along with the day-to-day operations. Just sharing her time and knowledge with me was invaluable. She also trusted and believed in me — to the point where she told the vice president of our organization that I was indeed qualified and capable to lead and perform at a high level. Her mentorship and faith in my abilities, combined with the experience in that new role, led me to open my own small business and be a part of the Success Labs team.
— Tamara Godfrey
Being a new college graduate and just accepting my first “big girl” job, I was in need of professional advice. The best career gift given to me was the advice to not be afraid to speak up in meetings. Being young and new there is a tendency to withhold ideas and thoughts during meetings or brainstorming sessions, but there is also a responsibility as a team member to participate. Finding this balance can be intimidating and tricky. After stepping out of my comfort zone in a few situations, I found my voice — and ultimately gained confidence in myself and realized what I bring to the table is valuable. With that confidence, I understand that it’s OK to fail, and in fact that it’s part of the learning process.
— Madi Ramsey