But the truth is, my career at Capgemini has provided endless challenges and opportunities. I’ve recently been promoted to become the first vice president in the Highlands (Inverness, Scotland), and I’ve had a succession of new roles throughout my career. It’s that variety and constant change that have kept me motivated, inspired, and engaged. The IT industry is always evolving, so there is never time to stand still.
Keep moving – and be an ace at hard work
I started out at Capgemini, working in accounts payable. In the 21 years since then I have changed roles frequently, never staying in the same position for more than two or three years. I’ve moved up ten grades in 21 years. It’s a career progression that required hard work and determination, and a few sacrifices along the way. But those were the right sacrifices to make, at the right time for me.
I’m very driven and have a strong work ethic, which I think comes from my upbringing on my parents’ dairy farm. I saw the amount of work they had to put in and the long hours required to make a success of it. They still work the farm and have built it up over the past ten years from a relatively small enterprise to one of the largest dairy farms in the UK. It’s a huge achievement, borne of hard graft and dedication. That’s the inspiration and example I bring to my work every day.
I wanted to be an accountant from the age of 12, and I’ve always loved numbers. Even today, when I have any spare time – on flights for example – I do sudoku puzzles. I’m very competitive with myself, trying to beat my best time. I think anyone who progresses a long way in their career has an element of competitiveness in them.
Make your ambitions known
I think it’s important to make your ambitions and aspirations known if you want to achieve your career goals. You can share them with your manager through your development reviews, so they can support you in identifying the right opportunities. It’s a genuinely supportive environment at Capgemini. The leaders are very approachable and accessible, which really helps you to understand the opportunities available and how to access them.
Take calculated risks
At each decision point in your career, you have to decide how much risk you’re willing to take and what compromises you’re willing to accept. To push my career ahead I’ve had to compromise on the amount of travel I’m willing to do, as my role now takes me further afield. When you’re making decisions about the next step, you need to decide whether the compromises are worth the reward.
Early in my career, back in 2001, the part of the business I worked in was sold and I had the opportunity to move with the business or stay with Capgemini. Most of my colleagues and managers chose to leave, but staying meant I had the opportunity to help set up the first service desk in Scotland. It was something I had no experience in, but I was willing to take the leap and give it a go. It proved to be the right move for me. Because the role was new, I had an opportunity to create a profile for myself and really kickstart my career in Cloud Infrastructure Services. Taking this risk and being successful meant that soon afterwards I was asked to set up the same infrastructure in Poland. It showed me that opportunities will follow if you’re prepared to push yourself.
Extend your network
There is huge support from within Capgemini, not just in your own function but in the wider business too. Networking is key to getting access to a wider group of people and finding out what’s going on across the business. In the early days, for me, this meant going to conferences where I was exposed to a whole range of influences. They were great places to get advice at that stage of my career, learning from senior people and understanding what makes a good leader.
Today, I get the same influences from my mentor. I’ve had a mentor for many years, and I now mentor others to help share my experience and give something back. I also regularly share my journey with people to show how you can grow your career at Capgemini.
The advice I would give to anyone joining the company today is always be clear about what you want to do next. Make calculated decisions, but take risks and move out of your comfort zone as often as you can. That way, opportunities will present themselves that you least expect.
Love your career
After 21 years, I still love working here. I love the environment at Capgemini; it’s such a dynamic and energetic place, where no two days are ever the same. It’s also a lot of fun. People enjoy working here and you can really sense that in our workplaces.
What do I love most about my career? I love the fact that I’m not just a number cruncher; I can make a difference to the business and help it to be successful.
To find out how you can launch your career journey with Capgemini, take a look at the opportunities available.