Journey to an unexpected career has been saved
Life at Deloitte
Journey to an unexpected career
Career tips from two Deloitte leaders
October 8, 2018
The funny thing about life is that you never know where it is going to take you. When both of us declared our majors in college – French Literature for Jen Steinmann and Marketing and Business Management for Jen Fisher – the roles we have now didn’t even exist! And, we’re not alone, 65 percent of today’s students will ultimately be employed in jobs that don’t exist yet.
When I first entered the field of consulting, it wasn’t initially clear how my French Literature degree was an asset, nor how the various languages I had learned would help me. However, over time, I found that they were both a benefit, just in indirect ways. For example, when I worked with an international client and found our Deloitte team speaking English, I spoke the client’s actual language and it proved to be a great asset as we developed a relationship. And that continued throughout a career that has taken me to many countries. In my previous role as Deloitte’s chief talent officer and now, as Deloitte’s chief transformation officer – a job that didn’t exist three years ago I might add – one of my focus areas has been on how to evolve our culture; words matter, and language matters when you take on that kind of work.
I originally wanted to major in exercise physiology, but since everyone in my family had majored in business, I figured that was the path to success for me too. Although I did major in marketing and business management, I kept physiology as a personal passion and area of study, not knowing that twenty years after I graduated it would make me the perfect candidate for my current role as Deloitte’s well-being leader. Prior to this, I used what I had learned in school for various roles I held in business operations, but I found myself burnt out and looking for something different. My passion has always been well-being and the knowledge I gained from college positioned me well to create Deloitte’s well-being program.
What can students do?
It is being predicted that careers and employment in the future will look nothing like that of the past century. Many college students are facing an uncertain future of work. While the education system is evolving and new technology and data-driven approaches can transform how students develop skills and prepare for the future, there are a couple of things they themselves can do to help navigate that uncertainty:
1. Embrace change. In this time of exponential change, uncertainty is the new normal. It can be difficult to manage change, but understanding and accepting the environment can help. Look for areas where your skills and what you have learned can apply to how work is evolving.
2. Take a risk. It’s clear that the job you will one day have may not even exist yet. Our advice is to follow your passion, study what inspires you and then realize that you may be able to use that in indirect ways, potentially even to create a job for yourself one day.
3. Build your network. Mentors and sponsors can be critical throughout the course of your career. Even while still working on your degree, you can find people at your school, internships, or places you may volunteer that are willing to guide you and provide advice. Throughout the course of our careers, mentors and sponsors have been there to ask the right questions, challenge us and help each of us figure out what our goals were and how to achieve them.
Most career journeys aren’t a straight path. There will be peaks and valleys, twists and turns. It’s about embracing the unexpected. So, study what inspires you, be open to change, accept risk and make sure you build a network of good people around you to help you navigate the journey.
Read more about the career journeys our professionals have taken.
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About the authors
Jennifer Steinmann is the Chief Transformation Officer – leading Strategy, Innovation, and Technology for the Deloitte US Firms. As a member of Deloitte’s US Executive Committee, Steinmann teams with Deloitte’s businesses to set the organization’s strategic direction, address strategic issues and opportunities facing the firm, and evaluate changes in the business and competitive environment. She is also responsible for executing the innovation and technology blueprint for the firm by incubating and bringing to life new technology-driven possibilities. Steinmann was formerly Chief Talent Officer and Deputy CEO of the Deloitte US Firms. She led the organization’s transformation to a World Class Talent delivery model and executed Deloitte’s value proposition to 70,000+ professionals by fostering an environment where leaders thrive.
Jen Fisher currently serves as the National Managing Director for Well-being at Deloitte. As Deloitte’s Well-being Leader, Jen drives the strategy and innovation around work-life, health, and wellness to empower Deloitte’s people to be well in all aspects of their lives. Jen is the recipient of the 2017 Ted Childs Life Work Excellence Award for creating a lasting impact on Deloitte’s culture, benefits, and the well-being of all their professionals. As a breast cancer survivor, Jen is an advocate for women's health and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.