I had never taken any business courses. As I rose, I realized
that management and leadership skills were the key to better communication and credibility with my peers and superiors. So, I decided to attend business school while working
full-time. My drive to keep learning led to earning my MBA,
which in turn has offered many opportunities in my career.
Today, working in a heavily regulated field like the
mortgage and finance industry, I’m challenged by new
regulations constantly being implemented and adapted. I
need to stay current and become educated on regulatory
developments and understand the minute details of industry regulations, so I can advise our company on the best
ways to protect our consumer customers and our business interests. Local, state, and federal laws and regulations
change constantly, and unlike school, the grading system is
pass or fail. Educational discipline helps you to stay sharp all
the time, no matter what stage of your career you’re in.
LET YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
SPEAK FOR YOU
Many people shy away from promoting themselves in
fear of being judged or coming across as having a big ego.
However, self-promotion is the key for standing out in the
workplace. But how do you do it without coming across
the wrong way? Easy: let your accomplishments speak for
Most ambitious people let their aspirations drive their
self-promotion. However, it’s much easier on you and your
team members if you always focus your work on the objectives of the business.
More specifically, focus on outcomes, not the work
that’s going into achieving the outcomes. If you do this,
you’ll find that self-promotion and communicating about
what you want to achieve is quite natural and accepted by
your peers and superiors.
PREPARE FOR AND TAKE THE LONG ROAD
Most people, and especially ambitious people, have
an idea of where they want to go, and tend to lose steam
when the path they envisioned starts revealing twists and
turns. It’s best to just admit now that your career won’t follow a linear route. If you see it this way, the wins you rack
up will be more rewarding. Persistence and resilience will
help you navigate any detours and achieve your goals. Just
think of these challenges as simply presenting you with a
different route along the way.
I’m an introvert, but I have a job where I lead and manage people. I talk to regulators, investors, and executives
regularly, which can be quite intimidating. And during my career, I have left jobs that I was doing well at so that I could
take on work that gave me new skillsets and deepened my
knowledge base. Making these career path changes have
been some of the toughest decisions of my life, but each
time I’ve steered away from my comfort zone, I’ve achieved
confidence and personal satisfaction that no compensation
reward could ever match. And in some cases, the compensation was there too!
ALWAYS PRIORITIZE NETWORKING
A well-cultivated network is your most valuable career
advancement asset. You can have all the skills you need
to be successful in your career or a specific role you’re
seeking, but it can easily fall flat without the right people
supporting you at the right moments.
Likewise, networks are critical for knowledge to make
you better at your job. If there is any situation I am unfamiliar with, I tap into my network for real life cases and insights
on that topic. And I do the same for my connections which
keeps these relationships fresh and mutually beneficial.
So, if you get sleepy or complacent on your networking, it can make you a less effective employee and/or leave
you short on career options.
An example: I’ve been involved in many networking
groups over the years, and now, I’m most actively involved
in the Bay Area Asian American General Counsel Network
and the San Francisco Bank Attorney Association. I was recently invited to join a new Fintech Attorney group, which
is a highly relevant group for our current era. It’s coming at
one of the busiest times of my career, but I’m readjusting
some of my current routines to accommodate it because
I cannot afford not to participate in a group discussing the
most important issues going on in our industry right now.
THE ONLY DUMB QUESTIONS ARE THE
ONES YOU DON’T ASK
Asking questions is a sign of a confident and curious
person. Companies value employees who actively engage
in meetings and discussions. So, although your first instinct
may be to stay quiet if you are unsure, speak up.
As I said, I’m an introvert so my personal nature is to
stay quiet. But my professional nature as an attorney is
always full of questions, so as I’ve matured in my career, I