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You can look for a job, or the job can find you. Moylagh Nargiso has experienced both.
Her first role at the local Y was as a summer camp counselor. Next, she worked in the nursery, in finance and, up until two years ago, at the front desk.
“Whenever I needed more hours, I asked. I was pretty much willing to do anything they needed me to do,” said the 20-year-old Montclair, New Jersey, resident.
That gave Nargiso exposure to many departments and people across the organization, which was at 400 employees pre-pandemic. Not only that but if anyone needed anything done, they knew Nargiso would step up to help. That included troubleshooting problems in any of the three female locker rooms and briefing facilities director Ken York on the matter.
So, when a facilities technician role opened in York’s department, rather than recruiting someone with experience from the outside, he offered the job to Nargiso.
“I explained to Moylagh that the role would entail electrical work, plumbing, painting, spackling, using power tools and such,” he said, adding that it was a full-time position that would allow her to acquire a new set of skills that would differentiate her from the masses.
Initially, Nargiso was flattered but wasn’t sure she wanted the position. “I thought it might be interesting and very different, but it wasn’t something I had ever thought about,” she said.
Yet Nargiso was the one York wanted for the job.
“I saw her at the front desk answering phones, dealing with members and helping with whatever else was needed, all at the same time,” he said. “Once, when I explained to her how to fix something in the women’s locker room, she came out with it done.”
While Nargiso’s change of direction might seem drastic, in the post-pandemic economy you might see others like it.
“The pandemic has sped up job transformation. Your career path may not be a clear, straight line forward,” said career expert and best-selling author Lindsey Pollak. Her forthcoming book is titled “Recalculating: Navigate Your Career Through the Changing World of Work” (Harper Business) out March 23. “Getting promoted or changing employers may not be the only way to grow,” she said.
Heather Malone, human resources expert and head of talent acquisition and new hire experience at EPIC Insurance Brokers & Consultants, agreed.
“If you like the company you work for, there are ways to get a new job there without waiting to be promoted,” she said.
In order to make that happen, going the extra mile and making yourself visible puts you on the right course, through building your internal network, volunteering to help co-workers outside of your area or sitting on committees and leading projects where you might be useful. By doing so, you become connected to “advocates, mentors and managers that may eventually have gaps on their teams that you could fill,” said Malone.
Since most companies encourage internal promotion, you should have an edge over external candidates.
But before you speak up or even apply for an internal job posting, Pollak has this caveat: Consider the politics of your employer’s organization. You wouldn’t want your potential new boss chatting with your current manager to confirm that they’re ready to let you move on, even before any interviews have been arranged.
“It’s like hearing from a third party that your spouse wants a divorce,” Pollak said. “You don’t want your boss blindsided.”
Go to human resources before taking action, said Pollak, and “absolutely proclaim your commitment to your current job. Say you like your role, your boss and your company. Only then ask to talk about your next move and how things work.”
This may not be necessary if you work for a company that is completely transparent and supportive of employees seeking new roles. Software maker SmartRecruiters, whose clients include Equinox and NBCUniversal, offers an “inner mobility” solution that includes a job board specifically for company employees. It includes “smart assistant,” a data science tool that maps employees’ skills to open jobs or projects.
“If you’re working at a company that uses it, you could get a notice indicating that you match an open job or assignment somewhere else in the company and be invited to apply,” said Jerome Ternynck, founder and CEO of SmartRecruiters.
That makes sense when you consider that if York had written out a job post for Nargiso’s job, it would have called for “a female” (so that she could easily access areas like the women’s locker room, which York could not) “who could handle many things at once, had a positive attitude and found fixing things interesting.” If Nargiso had come across it, she may have been curious enough to find out more.
After all, things worked out well.
“I love making a difference,” said Nargiso, who has recently been involved in a great deal of carpentry to make the Montclair Y’s gym and family center COVID-19 compliant, with a testing area in what was once the front lobby.
“I now have not just a job, but a career, doing something I never even knew I wanted to do.”
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