Q: What do you see as the greatest challenges in your career development?

Credit Union Young Leader:
Julie Macdonald
Communications and Events Advisor

Credit Union:
Alberta Central

A: The credit union system has been an incredibly supportive place to develop my career. I have been provided exceptional development opportunities and an open leadership team that has encouraged my growth.

Of course, career development goes beyond the opportunities provided to you by your organization, and must be actively managed, which can certainly be challenging. Here are some of the challenges I’ve encountered on my career development journey so far:

Knowing yourself: I have found that the biggest challenge in my career development has been learning about myself – my strengths, my shortcomings, my career goals – and applying that self-awareness to everyday activities and interactions. I believe that small, consistent actions every day will lead to long-term personal and career success. Also, regularly taking this kind of personal inventory is a good way to stay humble, but also be aware of (and confident in) your own abilities. Ongoing self-improvement will continue to be a very welcome challenge throughout my career development journey.

Navigating policies: Corporate policies and career ladders can be intimidating to navigate within your organization if you are looking to advance your career, but do not fit perfectly into the pre-determined criteria (i.e. years of experience, specific role profiles, etc.). Often, young people find this frustrating and make lateral moves to other organizations for short-term gain. However, I feel there is immense upside in being familiar with your organization and leadership team, and having proactive conversations about career goals, and working towards them together.

Being patient: Career development is a marathon, not a sprint. I try to keep in mind that organizations and industries change, my goals and interests are always evolving, and I still have another 30+ years to build my career. It is important to be patient and trust that, if you work hard, are confident in your skills and communicate your career goals, you will get to where you want to be.