No, you don’t need to start at the bottom of the mountain to get to the top. You can learn from the people that came before you.
This requires access to the “right” people, which typically require networking skills. Most of my male clients don’t have a problem with networking for the sake of strategic and transactional purposes. Quite the contrary, it is seen as expected and part of the game.
I spoke to a client about this the other day, and like many women she has a different view; namely by placing a lot of value in the relationship and seeking out personal friendships, rather than cultivating connections chiefly for future, strategic, use. Some even see this behavior as the proof that they are an honorable and trustworthy person.
The career impact is clear; networking and the ability to create allies is a key component for career progression!
The issue with this mindset is also that it assumes a degree of powerlessness. The underlying ‘you help me and I’ll help you’ actually states that you have the potential to become useful to the person you’re engaging. You’re not some poor soul asking for help. You’re going places. You’re a potential resource that the other person would be fortunate to have in the years ahead…. Not doing it suggests that you don’t see yourself as having this kind of power!
In a new job, you control your starting position more than you think. For specific advice, find someone a step or two ahead of you. For general advice, find someone older who can put things in perspective.
Need a first ‘next step’? Define who you can learn from and start by inviting to casual coffee meetings!