By Eleanor Escafi, Assistant Director of Strategy & Execution, Cambia Health Solutions
I graduated from college in 2009, at the peak of the Great Recession. I was one of many thousands of new graduates faced with the prospect of a panicked job market and tumbling economy. I learned pretty quickly that I wasn’t likely to have the same job pathway as my parents, both of whom walked into 30+ year careers with one organization straight out of undergrad. Instead, I would have to be creative, nimble, and patient. Those next couple of years forged in me a drive to look for any and every opportunity to learn professionally. So, when I was selected by the Cambia Women’s Employee Resource Group to attend the SharpHeels Career Summit in Portland, I jumped at the chance. It was a day full of pearls of wisdom, but the portion of the day which impacted me the most: a panel moderated by Cambia’s own Janet Campbell, VP and Chief Administrative Officer, on overcoming career obstacles.
Women thought leaders in our community discussed how they’ve managed to identify and address obstacles in their careers and workplace culture. I was inspired by the way panelists drew upon bravery to face conflict head on, trust themselves to correctly assess a situation, and equanimity to make these interactions productive and mutually beneficial.
In addition to personal stories, the panelists shared tactics for overcoming career obstacles which have served them well again and again.
Cambia’s VP & Chief of Staff, Janet Campbell is talking overcoming career obstacles with #Pdx women at #SharpHeels Career and Leadership Summit with Katie Topping from @NWEA and Katie Abbott from @puppetize. pic.twitter.com/sIs0yK0j7B— Cambia Health (@Cambia) September 20, 2018
There will always be ‘bells’ in an organization: situations in which the right decision is to bring your best skills to a situation, and do the best you can, even when your heart’s not in it. Naming these ‘bells’ can help you to accept bells when they come along and do their best work despite not being 100% behind the idea. Bells contrast the work initiatives and tasks which do give us joy, and win our enthusiasm.
Both panelists mentioned time in their careers when they’ve had to ask for help. They shared the importance of spreading the message that asking for help when you need it is a good thing. They offered these tips:
Before and after this panel, we got to hear from many women with fascinating careers. Based on ideas I heard throughout the day, here are some concrete steps I plan to take after this conference: