While studying at the University of Warwick, Jenny Patten took up an internship at Bosch UK. She climbed the ranks at impressive speed from graduate scheme to her current role as head of business development. But her career only really took off after she found up the courage to talk with HR.
After three years of managing Bosch Car Service network, Patten became concerned her focus was too narrow to enable further progression.
While it's clearly in your interests to become indispensable to your employer, becoming the “go-to’ person in a specialist field can be restrictive, because no one wants you to move. Her advice is to take control of your own destiny.
“I went to the head of HR and said: ‘Look, I'm really enjoying this role, but at the same time I would like to get a broader perspective on Bosch’. And he said: ‘Well, actually there's a project position that's coming up…’
“Project management was one of the key skill sets that I'd been working on in my previous role, so I felt equipped to do it.
“But, I think you have to make these opportunities for yourself. It wasn't that I wasn't enjoying the role, however I felt quite passionately that I wanted to get that broader perspective - I felt like I had to do everything I could to push that opportunity.
“While there was a certain element of luck in the project that came, if you don't push it in the first place, then you're not going to make yourself visible in the organisation to take on that new role.
“Be future oriented. It’s not just asking ‘what do I want to achieve in the next year?’, but ‘where do I want to be in the next five years?’
“Then stepping back from that, what do I need to know? Do I need to upskill myself in order to step into that role? What elements am I missing in my current role, that aren't giving me the opportunity to build those skills?
“Having reflected, it’s then about having the courage to go and address that. I went to the head of HR but probably the most logical step would usually be your line manager.
“If you don’t have a great relationship with your direct line manager, a mentor or someone with an objective outside from your day-to-day work can help you find those opportunities and give you that sounding board to reflect on what you want to do in your career.”
Image courtesy of Bosch UK