By Jonathan Wilson

Albert Einstein once famously said — anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. A quick scan of professional development articles on LinkedIn will confirm the truth in that statement — growth is tied to learning, learning is tied to trying new things, and trying new things is tied to making mistakes. Making mistakes is an inescapable part of career growth.


But aren’t some mistakes just, well, mistakes?

One of the most common mistakes I see young professionals make is thinking they have to switch agencies to grow. Year after year, recruiters target young associates from award-winning agencies, promising career bumps and big client names.

That, in and of itself, isn’t problematic. For some professionals, a new agency could be a great opportunity to get exposure to new philosophies, a new culture, and new challenges. And taking an offered interview, even when you’re happy with your current role, is a good idea — it keeps interviewing skills fresh, gives a different perspective on strengths, and satisfies curiosity about what’s out there in the job market.

But there’s a fine line that’s crossed when recruiting becomes less about the people and more about the “sale.” Similar to almost every other facet of life — no means no. Some people may not be interested in speaking with a recruiter, and no amount of emails or phone calls will change that. Others may be flattered that they were sought out, perhaps taking the initial call or interview, but that should not mean they “have” to accept an offer; no one should ever be muscled into making a career move.

If you find yourself being targeted by an aggressive recruiter, ask yourself this:

What’s really important to me in the next step in my career?

The answer could surprise you. Because it may not have much to do with what the recruiter is offering.  Pause for a moment. Write down your values to determine what really matters to you, both at work and in life in general. The reality is that recruiters have a job to do, and it’s not always to ensure that you’re happy and fulfilled in your next career move. It’s often to convince you to take the role they have available.

But regardless of their job, the bottom line for you as a professional is this: Only you own the decision on where your career will lead you.

Spectrum is fueled by great people doing world-class work. And my main concern — now and always — will be making sure that the talented individuals who lend their creativity, passion, and intelligence each and every day to our clients are well taken care of in their own career path.

No matter if you are considering making a move, left two weeks ago, two months ago, or two years ago, if you want to stay connected — heck, if you just want to grab coffee and catch up—my door is always open. Once a Spectrumite, always a Spectrumite.