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Michael Patterson

Michael Patterson has over twenty years experience working for various financial institutions. His career lead him to training in April 2000, and he is now currently responsible for the training and development for a 300 employee credit union in southeastern Pennsylvania. Mike facilitates worksh...

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Business & Finance

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02/22/2011 07:25pm
Making and Taking Advantage of Opportunities

In my book, Promotions Are Not Served At The Deli Counter, I talk about not only taking advantage of opportunities, but also the importance of making your own opportunities. Instead of waiting for opportunity to knock on your door, I wrote, you could always drive over to opportunities' house instead. This is true even if the car is driven by your mother on route to a pop concert.

This was the case for 15 year-old Sam Hollyman, who attended a Michael Bublé concert in Birmingham, England with his mom, Paula. During the show, Paula marched up to the stage and told Bublé her son just turned 15, was a big fan, and wanted to sing with him on stage. Obviously, this took guts, and mom was looking to create an opportunity for her son. After a brief conversation, Bublé invited Sam onstage to sing "Feeling Good." To the shock of the crowd of 14,000 strong, and definitely Bublé, the kid could sing! Sam made his own opportunity that night, with the help from his mom, and took full advantage of it. It will no doubt open up many more avenues for him to start his career.

Now, not everyone can sing; and not everyone will have the ability to get on stage with a Grammy winning singer. However, you can look for, create, and take advantage of opportunities within your profession. Keep in mind not all opportunities result in promotions. They may be new challenges or increased responsibilities. It may allow you to gain experience, or prove to others your various skills and abilities. Opportunities do not guarantee an immediate increase in pay, and may require more work in the short term. Too many times employees pass up an opportunity because it requires more work for the same pay. What they do not realize is their manager is giving them an opportunity to learn a new skill or demonstrate the ability to perform a task, either of which would make them more promotable in the future.

While not all opportunities come with financial rewards attached, they may instead offer you the ability to learn, develop, and demonstrate new skills which may be required for future promotion. Unfortunately, employees sometime pass up these opportunities because they do not realize the instant gratification of a fatter check. Instead, they consider the extra workload as a detriment instead of an opportunity.

Understandably, everyone wants to make more money, and wants to get paid for their production. Taking on extra responsibilities is an investment in your career. As someone possibly new to the corporate world, you should concentrate on building your resume for future job advancement. Most employers want individuals with experience for higher level positions. By assigning added responsibilities, supervisors are providing their employees with a way to obtain this experience while still maintaining their current position. Consider it to be on-the-job training for your future job. While excelling in new responsibilities such as preparing a report or creating a work schedule reap no monetary rewards in the present, you are gaining valuable experience which makes you more promotable in the future. When interviewing for a future job which lists "ability to create a work schedule" as a job requirement, you can confirm you not only have the ability, you also have the experience. You took the opportunity to proactively become more promotable instead of waiting for the promotion to come to you.

My advice is to take advantage of every opportunity you are given in an organization. On the job activities, training classes, books, and the internet are all excellent ways to learn and grow. Demonstrating the initiative to learn new responsibilities will make you promotable, if not at your current job, then at another company. Also, take the time to make your own opportunities. Instead of waiting for opportunity to come knocking on your door, you could always drive over to opportunity's house instead. Once you have conquered your normal work duties, ask your supervisor for additional responsibilities. Managers love employees who show initiative. Use these op


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