Career Choices You Will Regret In 20 Years

Every day we are faced with choices in our careers that will affect us over the long term. Should I volunteer for that new project? Should I ask for a raise? Should I take a sabbatical? Should I say yes to overtime?

But sometimes we miss the biggest choices that will cause us to look back on our careers 20 years from now with pride and contentment — or regret.

Here are some of the career choices we often make but will regret deeply in 20 years’ time:

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Adam Johb, Biggar & District Credit Union

Hey there, that Leadership looks good on you!

“I need to be in the Credit Union system for a long period of time to have an opportunity for leadership”.

“Leadership is only evident for Management”

“What does leadership look like for me?”

Do any of these questions look or sound familiar?  7+ years ago, I had these same perceptions, thoughts, and questions in my own mind…..

As I grew in the Credit Union system, I obtained a lot of skills.  I learned a vast amount of product knowledge, was able to experience success in several branch roles, and had a lot of energy.  I really enjoyed what I did but like any passionate employee, I wanted more.

I knew I had some great experiences but in order to take the next step, I thought I was lacking in one key area…….the opportunity for leadership.  I did have an opportunity to be part of a Career Pathing Program and do some skills assessments, in addition to speaking with staff in roles of which I had interest.  It provided insight to learn about the roles, their qualifications, and the courses and/or designations needed to get them.  What didn’t they have?  Specific ways to obtain leadership experiences and the motivation and inspiration to go after it.

My perception of both success and leadership changed after attending my first Sask Young Leaders conference in 2010.  I was opened up to similar experiences and similar myths of leadership that others were going through, but more importantly the determination that many other Credit Union youth were applying to overcome this skills gap.  I was amazed at both the large number of non-managers in attendance and the vast amounts of leadership qualities they possessed.  Leaving that conference kept me in touch with several of the attendees, both inside and outside of my own Credit Union, and the empowerment to take my career in my own hands if I wanted to take it to the next level.  I learned that Leadership is not 1 specific thing, it looks different to everyone.  It might be improving communication skills and expanding your focus to include motivating the people on your team to help them develop their own skills.  Or it might just be that you work with someone through adversity beside them, not above them.

7 years later I am in an exciting Managerial role, part of the Sask Young Leaders Committee, and Chairing the inaugural Affinity Young Leaders committee.  I have learned so much from SYL, our participants, and the contacts I’ve made.  SYL is one of the Credit Union System’s best kept secrets and it remains the utmost importance of this committee to ensure we let our Credit Unions know that the secret is out!

Whatever Leadership means to you, the willingness and motivation to seek it, understand it, and apply it is vital.  True Leadership can never be mandated, it can only be earned.  Try it on for size!  I bet it will look good on you……

Tyson Klapak, Affinity Credit Union

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

“You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”

— Brian Tracy

I started my Credit Union career as a summer student in 2011. After I finished school I returned back to my MSR position until May of 2012 when I took a temporary 1 year term as the Learning & Development Coordinator. Knowing that this was only temporary I was on the hunt for ways that I could develop myself further to have a chance at future opportunities. The first opportunity that presented itself was the SYL’s “Your Future is in Your Hands” conference. There were many things that I took away from this conference, but the biggest takeaways were something’s Devin Selte had said. “Take a chance and invest in yourself” and “Don’t let setbacks stop you from continuing on your path to be that leader.” Now these aren’t earth shattering quotes, but for where I was in my career, knowing that I really needed to make my time in my temporary role count because my time was limited – these stood out.

I came back to work with many new ideas and started making changes. At the beginning it was very awkward for me because I wasn’t sure how the new ideas would be accepted. I wanted to do something else that would force me out of my comfort zone and benefit me in the long run in my career. So I applied for the SYL Committee and was shocked when I received my acceptance letter. As Sam mentioned the first meeting was definitely awkward and I felt out of place being as the majority of the committee members were in leadership roles. I felt that I wasn’t going to be able to contribute as much, as I didn’t have the leadership experience and very little time in the Credit Union System compared to the rest. I felt one of the turning points for me was when we talked about professional development and different offerings that are out there. Being as these are conversations that I have daily back in my role I took the lead on the professional development sub-committee. Taking the lead on a sub-committee was definitely something that I have never done; I have always watched someone else be the first one to offer to take the lead.

My experience on the SYL committee has been by far my favourite. Not only did I get to work with amazing people and meet so many others within the CU System, I was able to prove to myself that I am a leader, that I can push myself out of my comfort zone and succeed. I am happy to say that the time I took and invested in myself paid off as my temporary Learning & Development position became a permanent position at the end of my term.

I dare you to feel awkward and take a step out of your comfort zone and see where it takes you.

Amanda Thoen, Innovation Credit Union