Career ups, downs and winding roads are the focus of the latest episode of TheEdge podcast. Janette Marx, CEO of Airswift, a global workforce services partner for the global energy, process and infrastructure sectors, joins ClearEdge Marketing CEO and Founder Leslie Vickrey as they discuss everything from the importance of career confidence, to finding the right people to champion you at work, to achieving the sometimes elusive work/life harmony.  

Risk-taking and Career Catapults

During the course of her more than 25-year career, Janette has almost always been the youngest person to ever hold the roles she was in. The same is true of her current position as well. One of the things that’s gotten her there is taking the right risks, and it’s something she sees as a common denominator among women who break the glass ceiling.

“I think a lot of it is about taking the right risks. There’s a drive deep inside these women that you can’t put out – it’s a flame that keeps going.”

Janette says that most women don’t feel safe stepping into the unknown, “you catapult yourself by taking those types of risks,” and she did this herself earlier in her career when she moved from California to the East Coast. She’s originally from California, had built all of her career connections in the state and most of her family lived there. When she was asked to move east, she was hesitant, but knew that it was the right big risk for her to take in her career. It turns out that the cross-country jump was the catapult her career needed to get to the next level.  

Confidence and Taking Responsibility

In addition to taking the right risks, Janette shares that a strong dose of confidence is necessary if your goal is executive leadership. She admits that it’s difficult to turn off the voices in our head that give us self-doubt, but she has always thrown herself into the mix and moved forward.

“Every single one of us has that voice, and a lot of times, that internal dialogue is negative. It’s hard to shut that down, but you have to show yourself that there’s a reason you’re going into each of your next roles, and you have to own it. Then once you’re in it, go make it happen.”

Janette explains that some of that confidence needs to come from knowing that you’re always going to face adversity in your career, whether it’s issues with leadership or how things are done at your company. She herself once faced a very difficult time with a manager with whom she just couldn’t see eye-to-eye. She reached a point that she knew she was either going to have to walk away from the job, or accept her role in the relationship and suck it up by working through it.

She chose the latter, and encourages others to do the same. Knowing that you’re going to have to work through it gives you the confidence to come through on the other side. Janette says that you have to tell yourself:

“I have responsibility in whatever that adversity is that’s coming my way. I’ve got to own it and work past it, and find my own path forward in it.”

Importance of your Network

Leslie and Janette both agree that you have to be your own career champion to get ahead, but they stress that it’s critical for other people to be a part of that cause. Janette shares that for her it’s been vitally important to have the right mentors and sponsors in her career.

Finding that support system isn’t simple and may take going the extra mile, as Janette explains that she has worked hard to build her internal work network by “volunteer time.” Janette is referring to the offering up of her time for internal company initiatives or task forces; not the traditional type of volunteering you may be thinking of (although Janette dedicates personal time to that as well!). She says that through those different types of exposure she’s been able find more people to help lift her up and support her career ambitions.

Janette also shares that one of the bigger networking lessons she’s learned is that you have to not only focus on vertical relationship building, but to your peers as well.

Janette also tells Leslie what she refuses to compromise on as part of her mission to seek work/life harmony. She also shares something surprising you may not know about her. Learn what it is, and so much more, by tuning into this episode.