• Sharon Kelly

How My Career Has Prepared Me to 'Ditch My Desk'


As I enter my last week of work and prepare to take a career break, I've been reflecting on what I've learned in my 20+ years career and some skills I will take with me as I travel.

The key soft skills that are often touted as being critical for success in business - leadership, teamwork, communication, problem solving, work ethic, adaptability and interpersonal skills - are all skills that I have demonstrated throughout my career and are all skills that will also be critical to my success as I travel. But this journey, this new adventure will require other skills too...

Running on empty - endless late nights during month ends closing the books earlier in my career, and then most recently during the budget crunch, have given me the ability to function at a high level (mostly!) on little sleep. Travel days, trying to sleep on planes, trains and buses, and likely several uncomfortable beds or couches will leave me tired, but I will need to power through to get where I am going.

Organization - managing a budget cycle has been described as herding cats but all it takes is organization. And although this trip will be disorganized in its unplanned state, I will need to be organized to keep track of passports, budget and vital possessions.

Patience- like everyone who has worked for even a fraction of the time I have, I have had to work with people I don't personally get along with. Patience and tolerance will be invaluable at times as I travel, especially with people who have different social norms that I do.

Seeing the big picture - in my career I have had times when I have had no choice but to get involved in the details, but have always tried to put things in perspective and be detail oriented while maintaining a broad strategic perspective. While on this journey there will undoubtedly be things that don't go my way, but I will have to take these in stride as just being part of the journey.


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