There are many roads to success, but ultimately the most rewarding is the one in which you achieve work-life balance and orient your career to follow your passions. When Karen Quintos, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for Dell, reflects upon her career, she recognizes that the new opportunities that she pursued and accepted revolved around knowing her purpose, understanding what it was about her career that motivated her, and a sense of prioritization.
Know your purpose and passion
Quintos has found that it’s not enough to focus just on what you do, but also why you do it and to give back. Once you define your purpose and passion, use it to make decisions and set clear priorities. Her passion is helping customers and building brands around customer needs. This passion, as well as her corporate responsibility and sustainability efforts, has lead her to lead a very rewarding career because she is helping the company give back to its consumers.
“You spend the first 40 years of your life trying to figure out how to be successful and then you spend the next 40 years of your life trying to be significant,” she said.
Take time to prioritize
However, a lesson that Quintos, like many women, learned over the course of her demanding career was the need for work-life balance through prioritization. She feels that she learned this lesson the hard way through too many hours working late into the night, missed children’s games, and events.
“Sometimes you just have these ‘ah ha’ moments when you realize that if you don’t prioritize your life, it is absolutely incredible how corporate America will consume 24 hours of it if you let them,” Quintos explained.
Identifying what your key priorities are, whether it’s being able to drop your kids off at school or attend a night class for your graduate program, will aid you in making important tradeoff decisions. This is not to say that these tradeoffs in order to achieve work-life balance will be any easier to make. Quintos shifted careers from Merck to Citigroup in order to prioritize her family’s needs and even left a holiday party she was hosting to attend her daughter’s performance.
Understand the importance of a strong team
These priorities are particularly difficult to balance early on in your career when long hours are often necessary as you establish yourself within your industry. However, Quintos believes that it gets easier to balance these priorities as your career advances because you have the support of your team structure behind you. It is also essential to pick the right boss and culture that will support you in your endeavors to prioritize and balance your work and personal responsibilities.
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