Career development is all about the journey, not just the destination

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My journey at Capgemini has been one of constant discovery. It’s been about searching for opportunities, finding out more about myself, my skills and my qualities, bringing my own perspective to different roles, and identifying what energizes and inspires me.

Demonstrate your potential

My background was in marketing and communications. I studied Creative Business (Media, Information and Communication) and worked in a number of communications-based roles in museums and in television. The economic crisis in 2008 brought an end to those opportunities, and so I spent a couple of tough years working in short term roles until 2012 when my resumé was picked up by Capgemini. I didn’t know much about the company, so I dived into researching the business. In the interview, I did my best to answer lots of technical questions based on what I’d learned from all the research. The interviewer saw something in me, some potential. He liked the way I applied my brain to work out answers to his questions. Even though I didn’t have the technical knowledge for the role, he dared to take a chance with me and offered me the job.

It was essentially a programming role, and I was working with people with way more technical knowledge than me. It was a big challenge trying to follow them, but I did bring a different perspective and looked at things from a different angle, which colleagues and customers found valuable.

Apply your talents – whatever the role

I knew this role wasn’t a natural fit for me, so from day one I was always trying to see what else I could do. At the time, a lot of work was being moved to India, which was creating some mixed feelings in the Netherlands team. I decided to step in to see if I could improve this and make it better for people. I tried to understand how the teams worked in India and the reasons why the work moving there. I set up sessions for the teams to talk about the issues and to create a plan for people in the Netherlands. This wasn’t part of my core role but something I thought I could do, at a very junior level, to help people through this challenging transition.

Keep searching for opportunities

A key theme in my story at Capgemini is that I never settle. My message to people starting out is that you have to be active in searching for opportunities. I found ways to make my skillset work in a technical environment that wasn’t my natural home.

I’ve been fortunate to have managers who are very supportive. They are more like coaches in the way they get to understand your skills and what makes you happy, so they can help you find the right roles. My manager was keen to support my ambition and talents, and helped me move to a junior scrum master role, which seemed a good fit for my communication and customer-relationship skills. Again, this turned out not to be quite right, as it still involved a lot of technical issues and didn’t fully engage my creative brain. But although it was not my final fit, when I look back, it was an important part of my learning journey at Capgemini.

Learn about you – and be true to yourself

At this time, I was recommended by HR for the outstanding women in leadership (OWL) program. This was a fantastic opportunity for me. It’s a very special program that offers a whole range of coaching support, but crucially it helped me to identify issues that I didn’t even know were bothering me. For example, I’d always assumed I was not a good negotiator, but through OWL, I learned how to do it better. OWL is a very apt title, since the program has enabled me to see much more; it’s given me a 360° view both of my own character and of the world of Capgemini.

I feel that people at Capgemini have had my interests at heart from the very beginning. They have supported me in my search for the right role, recognized my talent, and took the time to understand me. I’ve learned that, even in roles that aren’t naturally suited to you, it’s important to try to adapt but also never to lose sight of who you really are. You need to know yourself, and to develop an awareness of what gives you energy and what drains your energy. The programs available at Capgemini are very good at helping you to learn more about yourself and, in my opinion, they also help Capgemini to learn more about its people.

Find your natural fit

I now have what seems to be the perfect role for me. At the start of 2019, I was appointed to the newly created position of Lead for one of the departments in the Netherlands. This role was created for me by Marcel Van Der Burg, Chief Marketing Officer, and Andre Snijder, Head of Sales Benelux, for Cloud Infrastructure Services. They recognized the importance of communicating clearly to our people and our markets, and I admire their boldness in creating a role and budget to deliver that task. But Marcel would never have thought of me for the role if it wasn’t for our introduction at the OWL program, where I was pushed to come out of my comfort zone and tell him what I was looking for.

Communication is the oil that keeps the machine moving, the cartilage that holds the skeleton together. My role today is all about sharing stories with our people and markets, and finding creative ways to talk about our business and our solutions. My energy for this job tells me that it is finally the role where my personality really comes into its own.

Love your career

If I had to sum up what I love about Capgemini, it is the people – we have many special people who create an amazing culture – and the role I have now. The fact that this role exists shows that the company is able to change and create opportunities. It’s a role that recognizes the value of communication and creative thinking. It’s a role I could not have filled as soon as I joined Capgemini (although I was searching for it) – my journey through the business was essential to enable me to learn about the company, its purpose, and its people. It’s a journey that has taught me so much about myself and enabled me to meet so many fantastic people. I am glad my path led me to where I am today, and I am excited about my future here.

 

To find out how to begin your journey of discovery at Capgemini, take a look at the opportunities available.

 

 

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