As a young professional, I’ve always told my peers that I am in a position to learn and grow. Not one to pass up an opportunity, I’ve accepted every single one that’s come my way over the last few years. Reflecting on it over the past few weeks, I was a bit disappointed that I’m not further ahead by now. I had high hopes and lots of ambition to climb up that ladder as fast as I could.

Two years ago, a mentor of mine told me to slow down. He told me to stop rushing. He told me to learn all that I could at a lower level, because learning the hard lessons when you’re closer to the top has a bigger impact on your future, and your reputation. As usual, he was right. I’m glad I listened. I expected to broaden my experiences and learn some new skills by accepting equivalent level jobs. Simple enough goals. But after a couple years of hopping around, I didn’t learn what I thought I would from the experience.

Instead, I learned about people. I learned that managers are not always there to help you meet your personal and professional goals, but may be more focused on meeting their own… Regardless of who they have to step on to get there. I learned that my peers may not always handle change as well as I do, and that they may try to set the new girl up for failure whenever possible. Especially when you get the job that they wanted. I learned that keeping yourself motivated when you work in a negative office environment is next to impossible, and sadly, I learned that it is possible for the girl who never quits, to stop trying.

I learned a bit about what I’m good at, and what I’m not so good at. From a manager telling me that I’m terrible at something and continuously talking down to me, to getting myself involved in initiatives that are completely unrelated to my job in order to remember what I’m good at. Most of all, I learned that passion for your job is important. I figured out which field of work I enjoy the most and what areas I don’t particularly enjoy, which play a big part in motivating you and helping you to excel in your work… Most of all, it can influence whether or not you want to wake up and go to work every morning.

I am thankful for the experiences, positive and negative, associated with these opportunities I’ve been given. I firmly believe that every experience is good experience! I very much look forward to following my passions again in the coming years, and I hope that I am a better manager and employee in the future for the things that I’ve learned so early on in my career.