20something profile: Tatiana
“Wait, so I get to buy clothes for a living?”
When I graduated from college in May of 2010 from Syracuse University after triple majoring in Retail Management, Accounting, and Marketing Management, I thought that I was going to start my new glamorous job and become an Assistant Buyer in less than two years. Even after I was recruited to work for a global multi-billion dollar retail company, and they told me the average person took four years to move through the ranks, it didn’t change my mind.
My attitude was it was nice for everyone else, but I was going to do in two years and I was going to be great at it. I was going to be the BEST Assistant Buyer this company had ever seen, and damn it, it was going to take me two years. I was so focused on the length of time it would take me to get to my coveted position that I neglected to understand the full scope of what a career was. Whelp, it didn’t take me long to realize a couple things:
- I didn’t have any experience in Buying, and I didn’t actually know anything about driving a business other than “I like that color, with that label, in that silhouette.”
- The money that I wanted to spend “picking things” with, was actually real money; not only was it real money, but it was millions of dollars of real money. And there were also these things called margin, ROI (return on investment), and GP (Gross Profit) that the company really cared about. They weren’t just vocabulary terms that were just in my college textbooks.
- I was initially hired as an Allocation Analyst in a corporate training program; I was not hired as an Assistant Buyer.
I may be making a broad generalization when I say this, but I feel as though I am a part of a generation that wants to be successful and innovative while making our mark on history; the only issue is that we want to do it all before the age of thirty. Being driven is not a crime, but what I’ve learned is that in order to be successful, you need to understand the full scope of the industry: I needed to understand all the “players” and how they all worked together.
So I took some time to network with people in my company in an effort to understand the business. I met with Assistant Buyers, Buyers, AVPs, VPs, and Mangers of different departments of the company. This not only allowed me to learn all the different positions but to develop a group of mentors in the process. Building business relationships is a vital part of developing yourself and advancing in your career.
I then started working on special projects that allowed me to showcase my skills to various people in higher positions of the company from HR to Merchandising. My personality, work, and most importantly, my achievements were in the forefront of people’s minds. I had started to develop my Personal Brand.
Soon after, I was promoted from Allocation Analyst to Senior Allocation Analyst, then about a year ago to Associate Planner. Being an Associate Planner allowed me to travel with the Buyers. I also started working on global initiatives and started a company sponsored leadership program in Boston.
Currently, I am one promotion away from my coveted position, and it looks like 2013 may be my year. My best advice when it comes to your career is to be the best you can be in your current role, and when you excel at that, push yourself to the next level. Everything will come together when you focus on tomorrow but still have your eye on next year. Network has much as you can and push yourself every day.
Throughout my journey, I realized that my life isn’t just about advancing my career and getting to the next level. I still needed to maintain friendships, have fun, date, and be a normal twenty-something. I recently moved to a new city, and needed to explore it — and myself. I started my blog pinkroses & redwine, which is filled with relationship advice, career advice, and all things pertaining to a twenty-something.