Sodexo: Career Reflections: Objects in the Mirror are Closer than They Appear

When did your career really begin? A Sodexo manager traced hers all the way back to 6th grade.

(Sodexo is No. 6 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list)

A children's book illustrator visited my kids' school last week. And, predictably, my 10-year-old son announced he knows (again) what he wants to be when he grows up: a children's book illustrator. The same experience played out when a mathematical magician visited the school a couple years ago – a sudden desire grew to attend the college in California where the man teaches math.

These conversations often stir up thoughts about how I landed here, at Sodexo, managing communications about recruiting and human resources topics. And while the path doesn't look very clear on the outset, I can trace the roots of my skills, talents and interests all the way back to elementary school.

In 6th grade, my writing skills took hold as I worked hard to impress my teacher and aim for a perfect score on every written assignment. In middle school and high school, writing continued to play a prominent role as I signed up to work on newsletters, the school newspaper and the yearbook committee. Other elements grew my skillset, too, like planning homecoming parades and floats, proms and other class events.

But at college, life took a different path. I majored in psychology. I even began work on a master's degree in school psychology. And, while I loved the theories and administering the psychological tests, I kept finding myself volunteering for areas where I could help people find their path at school, choose their major and select the right internship that would lead to a successful career.

Eventually, I would look through a course catalog and discover that the fields of public relations and communications tied together everything I had been good at most of my life: writing, event planning and helping others.

One of the most amazing things about my current role is that it is ever changing to support the needs of recruiting at Sodexo – from managing our monthly Career Connections newsletter to finding ways to improve your experience as acandidate applying for jobs with our company.

Even better, because of Sodexo's diverse business offerings, I am free to reinvent my career if I decide that I want to work in an area other than recruiting – I can look at marketing and communications opportunities at our headquarters or within any of our business segments. Advancing my career at Sodexo means I can use my skills and experience in any number of areas, from traditional PR to project management at locations like our schools and colleges to corporate sites to military and government installations.

I also know that Sodexo's commitment to helping employees advance their careers is evident throughout our corporate culture. Not only do we have mentoring and professional development programs, but there are specific ways Sodexo champions women through our internal Women's Network Group and our corporate commitment to expand the role of women throughout the company's management. Here's a brief look at Sodexo's female executive leaders who provides great inspiration.

My own career may have taken a few twists and turns before I landed here at Sodexo, but somehow I think the path always pointed in this direction. When did your career begin? If you look back, do you see how your interests while growing up shaped the career you grew into as an adult? Looking back, sometimes objects in the mirror really are closer than they appear.

(Originally published on Sodexo USA's career blog)

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