Don’t Be Tied to Your Desk: a Talent Manager’s Advice for Young Professionals

Written by Pavita Cooper - 26 September 2019

Barbeque over fireplace

Being engaged with your job is important, but don’t prioritise work over play.

Pavita Cooper CCMI, CEO and founder of More Difference, and Chairperson of CMI’s Delivering Diversity campaign and CMI Race, has had a varied career in talent management. Her roles have ranged from working at Lloyds Bank to founding her own company, where she focuses on bringing diversity to more senior roles in management.

Don't Jump in

“If you’re a high-achieving, A-type personality, whose done really well at school and university, then you get this amazing job and you're in your first graduate role, the risk is that you think if you work really, really hard, you’ll be successful,” Pavita warns. “Of course, for people like myself with 30 years’ experience, we know it’s all about working smarter, not harder.”

Strike a Balance

“If you give up sport, seeing your friends, connecting with your family, or wherever the third place is where you go to find reconnection with yourself, you'll actually be less successful in the workplace, because you’ll burn out.

“Not only that, but you’ll actually be less interesting to anybody else because you’ll have fewer interests, fewer good ideas, fewer new ideas, and you’ll be more insular in your thinking.”

Pace yourself

“In the early years people may initially reward you for working really hard, but after that, the dimensions of leadership are broader, and organisations start to look for broader skills. They’ll be looking for someone who can work well across an enterprise, who has an external focus, who prefers to be collaborative, who gives themselves space to be creative and innovate – and the person who’s worked really, really hard and hasn’t done anything else won’t be able to demonstrate that.”

Have a support group

“From a personal perspective, you need to be able to reach out to your support group. I’ve had a long life in the workplace; I’ve been at it for 30 years. In that time, bad things will happen. When that stuff starts to hit, you need a support system around you.

“Professionally, to young people I always say: build your own personal board of advisors. These are people you can go to as your career develops that you trust, that you can seek counsel from, people who can guide you, and people who can help you make difficult professional decisions. If all you’ve done is stayed in the office tied to your desk, you’ll be someone with no network with which to connect to. I think those things are really important.”

 

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Pavita Cooper

Pavita is founder and Director of More Difference. Pavita is recognised as a leading talent and diversity expert; she has over 25 years’ experience as an executive talent leader across a range of multi-sector global blue-chip organisations. Pavita has acted as an advisor to CEOs, executive teams and business leaders across sectors that include financial services, energy, consumer, professional services and luxury goods.

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