Working in technology sales has been extremely rewarding. Like any career, mine has had its share of ups and downs which I view as a positive learning experience.
I’ve been able to turn to these three guiding principles to keep me on course and keep me aligned with my career ambitions.
1 - Find your True North
Find your True North and rigorously focus on it. This will become your fixed point in an ever-spinning world.
Your True North could be a set of deeply held values and beliefs, a long-term career objective or a life goal. Focusing on this has helped me stay on a strategic course and move beyond transactions.
Through the span of my career, I’ve broadly worked in three roles: software engineering, sales and channel management. When I felt the time was ripe for a change in role, I asked for what I wanted and prepared myself for getting it.
I was vocal about my ambitions and why I wanted the change, what I could do to demonstrate success and how this aligned with my long-term career objectives.
My organisation has been very supportive of mobility and I truly feel that this has added a different dimension to my existing skill-set and experience, helping me get closer to my long-term objectives.
2 - Invest in relationships
I’ve always invested time and effort into building genuine and lasting relationships. This means putting in effort into truly knowing people, understanding their motives and personal stories. This has been my best source of learning so far as it has allowed me to be empathetic and learn from others’ experiences.
Relationships at work have also helped me tremendously. Mentors have played a significant role in my career development. They have helped shape my career journey and my interactions with customers and channel partners have helped me better understand market dynamics.
Some relationships have stood the test of time and held me up in my toughest moments.
When I returned to work after a maternity break, I felt extremely overwhelmed. I reached out to other men and women in my organisation for support and they rallied around me. It was this strong allyship that inspired the formation of the Women@Googlegroup for my business unit.
It is an employee-led network focused on diversity and inclusion and currently has 15,000 members, 120 chapters in 52 countries, with hundreds of women (and men, too) who volunteer their time leading programs and efforts.
When I started off in sales, I questioned whether I’d chosen the right role. Several people told me that a technology sales career would be extremely daunting for a woman.
Leveraging the strong relationships that I’d formed and reaching out to my mentors helped me stay on course, challenge stereotypes and ultimately exceed my targets.
3 - Make yourself a priority
Take time out to focus on yourself and do things you’re passionate about. Prioritise your well-being, learn a new hobby, plan your next vacation, spend time with the people you love. Build a support system that will help you accomplish this.
I love baking and set apart time to bake something different every weekend. I also love to read and travel and ensure that I am able to balance these passions with my work and family time.
This year, I’m also trying to set aside time to learn a new skill. I’m currently getting back to learning the piano and Qigong / Tai Chi is the next item on my list.
Sarah Razvi is a partner development manager at Google Cloud India