Thursday 27 October 2016

What I wish I'd known: 'A lot of my early career decisions were born out of a desire for money and security...'

Bernie Keogh, Managing Partner, Alternatives Elect

Published 19/06/2016 | 02:30

Bernie Keogh of Alternatives Elect
Bernie Keogh of Alternatives Elect

'I'm proud to come from a modest background and while there was lots of love and encouragement, there was not a lot of money - and I had to put myself through university.

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"Recently, I realised that a lot of my early career decisions were born out of a desire for money and security. I had followed my head and not my heart. If I was starting all over again, I wouldn't choose money and security - because if you're starting off from a low base, what do you have to lose?

"Still, I've no regrets because I've learned so much, lived in different countries and continue to have great experiences and meet fabulous people. I'm passionate about what I do and that's what counts most - everything else will follow.

"Now is a very exciting time to be in the talent business. Far-thinking organisations are starting to look at nerds, failed entrepreuneurs, dreamers, artists, travellers, serial learners and non-conformists and say: 'Hey, they might help us think differently, pivot in another direction and even future-proof our business. They might have skills and a vision that will help us adapt, innovate or transform in the digital era.'

"Business is embracing diversity in a genuine way and it's an approach that needs to be embraced. The path doesn't always run smoothly, and diversity on the interview panel and training in unconscious bias (which we are all prone to) are essential to convert a corporate goal into a truly diverse corporate culture.

"Technology is a great enabler and it's great to live in the age of agile working, but ultimately business is relational and relationships are built on affinities, values and delivering a great customer experience. They are also built face-to-face. Doing business by email is a cop-out and I always prefer to pick up the phone or meet face-to-face. People are nicer to each other in person.

"Nowadays we live in society where the opportunities to change careers or choose a different path are no longer frowned upon but actively encouraged at any stage. Pivoting or reinventing your career is possible at any age.

"That is why we need to embrace continuous learning in areas that interest us and to continue to build our skills throughout our careers. We never know when they might come in useful."

Sunday Indo Business

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