Crashing the AC&E: 40 Things You Should Do For Your Career Before You Turn 40 – Shari Storm

A list curated by Shari Storm for the 2012 AC&E Crashers (aimed at young credit union professionals, but generally applicable to anyone… my favorites are in bold):

Shari Storm

Shari Storm meets with the Crashers to discuss career development.

  1. Take one year of accounting.
  2. Take one year of finance.
  3. Take a mentor out to lunch.
  4. Every day, ask a question you think you already know the answer to.
  5. Ignore an email that makes you angry.
  6. Join Rotary.
  7. Subscribe to (and read) a magazine fully outside your area of expertise.
  8. Do something that leads to rejection.
  9. Run a long distance race.
  10. Pay off your credit card debt.
  11. Interview for other jobs at least once a year.
    • The goal isn’t to skip from one employer to the next. The goal is to keep your interview skills sharp so that when an important interview comes along, you’ll be ready. Continuously look at and evaluate your career. Be good at articulating what you do well. Recommit yourself to your job at least once a year.
  12. Read Og Mandino’s The Greatest Salesman in the World.
  13. Visit other credit unions.
  14. Attend chapter, league, or national conferences.
  15. Become a competent public speaker.
  16. Memorize the proper use of there/their, your/you’re, and its/it’s.
  17. Shadow a branch teller, a call center rep, and someone in your collections department for a day.
  18. Hike the hill in your state.
  19. Practice good table manners.
  20. Learn about managing introverts and extroverts.
  21. Take golf lessons.
  22. Visit another country.
  23. Hire someone.
  24. Fire someone.
  25. Understand how your personality impacts others.
  26. Ask your marketing team to let you work on a marketing campaign.
  27. Establish a standing date night with your significant other.
  28. Learn the art of running a perfect meeting.
  29. Climb a mountain.
  30. If you have children, line up flexible, dependable, quality child care.
  31. Run your IT department for a week.
  32. Read Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott.
  33. Memorize 20 key industry statistics.
  34. Pay attention to Filene, Finovate, and Ron Shevlin.
  35. Take up a hobby that makes you lose yourself.
  36. Talk to every new employee and get their perspective of your credit union.
  37. Never stop looking at your credit union through the eyes of a member.
  38. Be interviewed on television.
  39. Attend your credit union’s examiner/audit exit reviews.
  40. Protect your health.
  41. BONUS: Negotiate a salary increase. Goal: Make your boss want to give you a raise. What’s your market value? Why does your company want to keep you?
  42. BONUS: Make friends with somebody ten years younger.
  43. BONUS: Make a list of goals towards accomplishing your next career step.

Shari Storm (besides having an awesome, super-hero name) is sharp credit union exec on her way to CEO, who doesn’t take herself too seriously. She met with the Crashers to share insight on career development, and talk about her book Motherhood is the New MBA. Motherhood is often seen as a challenge, a balancing act for professional women. It’s refreshing to look at as a professional asset. I bought two copies, one for me and one to share with my department.

Perhaps the best piece of wisdom Shari imparted to us was this, “Don’t get stuck in the middle.” Don’t be someone who doesn’t like their job well enough to thrive, but doesn’t dislike it enough to leave.

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