Achieving success in corporate America is not easy. It is a competitive place, and your peers are constantly looking for ways to get ahead and to climb the ladder and become leaders in their workplace.
While setting yourself up for success and differentiating yourself from the competition is no easy task, it’s something that Raaj Parikh was able to do through a relentless work ethic and a practical, determined outlook on his career.
A son of immigrant parents who came to the US from India, Raaj Parikh was raised in Naperville, Illinois, a city in the western suburbs of Chicago.
He recalls his parents working hard throughout his childhood. His father was a database administrator and his mother held various roles from teacher’s assistant to clerk.
Raaj Parikh himself worked hard in his youth and was always a high-performer, operating in fast-paced service and retail jobs.
So, how did Raaj Parikh go from humble beginnings to carving out a rewarding and successful career?
The truth is that it was no easy job, but there are many things he learned along the way. Here are Raaj Parikh’s top tips for achieving success in Corporate America:
- Do not get pigeonholed. According to Raaj Parikh, one of the most important tips is to avoid being pigeonholed. That is to say, you should be cautious when companies train you to become a task doer rather than a strategic thinker. You should actively think about the value your skills bring to an organization. Strategic thinkers create new revenue streams and identify efficiencies to cut costs to improve an organization’s bottom line whereas a task-doers are often laid-off as a result of restructurings.
- If you pivot, pivot soon. Raaj Parikh says it is important to pivot soon if you decide that your current role does not align with your long-term career goals. Typically, the more experienced you are in a role (e.g., Accounting, IT, HR), the better you are compensated. Pivoting becomes tough for experienced corporate professionals because they typically cost organizations more to train, thus organizations prefer to train junior professionals who earn lower wages.
- Find the right mentors. Parikh says it’s important to find the right people to mentor and advocate for you in the early stages of your career and throughout its course. He says, “your network is everything, thus be sure to build strong relationships with key stakeholders within your department and broader organization.”
- It’s your career. Do not be afraid to pursue what you want. Whether it is a job, a promotion, or a raise, you have to be the person driving your own career and having those conversations with the appropriate stakeholders to make it a reality.
- See the big picture. Often times professionals want to score a “touch down”. Don’t dismiss lateral opportunities where you can round out your existing skills or build new skills. Many times professionals want to grow vertically for the prestige and compensation associated with climbing the corporate ladder, but often times it’s the lateral moves that help cement the foundation for you to exceed expectations at the next level.
One of Raaj Parikh’s final points is to learn personal finance. This goes for anybody who wants to make it in their career, but it rings especially true for young people because they have more time to take advantage of the compound interest over the long term.
He recommends books such as ‘Mister Money Mustache’, ‘The Millionaire Next Door’, ‘Your Money or Your Life’, ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ or anything else that gets you started learning about personal finance.
“Learn about how money works.”