Editor’s Note: The following was originally published on LinkedIn by Liz O’Neill, SVP, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Levi Strauss & Co.
Unless you’re one of the lucky few, chances are that your first job – or three – won’t be exactly what you had in mind when you walked out of those hallowed halls of higher learning and into the real world. But sometimes it’s those non-traditional career detours that yield the most valuable lessons – and take you in the most interesting directions.
I learned that early on in my professional life, when I decided to skip grad school to spend four years teaching horseback riding, windsurfing and sailing at multiple Club Med resorts around the world. It certainly wasn’t the most conventional training ground for a career in global supply chain management – but looking back, I can tell you that many of the skills I use now in my job, from negotiating with potential suppliers around the world to challenging my team to imagine new approaches to old ways of working, were honed in those early years.
A few examples of experiences that continue to inform my career to this day…