Paul Gallagher is director – professional services for the finance & accountancy, HR and legal divisions at Kelly Services Hong Kong.
Play the commitment card to succeed in your career
I recently met up with a friend of mine from a previous company who I had not seen for about five years. I discovered that he now works for a bank and earns almost three times as much as me – and we used to do the same job! I’d really love to “get rich quick” through a couple of really good career choices. Is there anything – besides setting up my own business – that can compare to studying for some professional exams and getting into the finance industry?
It would be best if I knew more about your professional role, yet I will try to answer with the few facts I have.
Although it is not hard to spot some professionals in banking commanding a higher salary than people in other industries, this is far from a hard and fast rule. First, not everyone fits into the banking industry, and neither is everyone within it paid more than people in other sectors. I have seen banking professionals work very long hours and take up heavy responsibilities, but only for an average pay.
At the end of the day, I do not believe there is any “get rich quick” career formula. Studies show that people who are compensated well financially have not only worked hard, but have also joined companies in roles that they excelled in, as they were genuinely passionate about and committed to what they do.
When it comes to making career choices, I would advise you to first look at your career goal. This should reflect your skills, passion and commitment.
Secondly, consider what are your key job satisfaction factors, such as a good salary, work-life balance, opportunities to learn new skills and knowledge, etc. Is a handsome salary the only factor you care for, even if you have to work very long hours? Are you willing to get a good salary, but work under immense pressure?
Thirdly, by working for at least five years, you must have some idea of what environment, company culture or people chemistry best brings out your strengths. From that, you could then consider what you want to achieve in your career in five years, and work backwards from your future goal. I would suggest that you work through that plan in small steps.
If you are passionate about a job – be it working for yourself or for any employer – be committed to it. Be aware that all opportunities have their pros and cons. In the process, be cautious of job-hopping for small salary increments. Employers consider as jumpy applicants who work for less than 18 months in an organisation before moving on.
After all, no one can hold all the good cards in their life, but everyone can play those he or she holds well.
I wish you satisfaction and happiness in your career pursuit.