Aruni Southard believes the reason job hopping — a practice favored by as many as 64 percent of workers today — has become so popular boils down to a few key things.
“The work they do isn’t challenging them, they aren’t compensated well, they have poor management, or they don’t have a good work-life balance,” she explained. “At the end of the day, I think it’s important to ask yourself if you are proud of the work that you do. If you’re just working for a paycheck, you’ll constantly be looking for another job.”
Luckily for her, Southard has landed at a company where she’s found the “right combination” of being challenged and feeling supported. As a Compliance Analyst at Fisher Investments, she says she’s proud of her work, well-compensated (in terms of both pay and benefits), and mentored by “remarkable” managers.
Sound like the dream? Southard isn’t one to disagree; there’s a reason she’s stuck with Fisher the past five years, working on both the sales and compliance teams. Recently, she shared with Fairygodboss what exactly has led her to choose to make (and keep) a home at Fisher, as well as her No. 1 piece of advice to other women who want to feel similarly supported in their careers.
Tell me about the roles that you’ve held at Fisher Investments.
Five years ago I started at Fisher Investments as a Regional Sales Associate, acting as an advocate and operational liaison for sales. I’ve always been grateful for the time I was on that team because it gave me great insight into how the sales group of Fisher Investments functions. My manager in this role recommended me to the Vice President of Legal and Compliance, which led to my next role as a Compliance Associate, followed by a progression into my present Compliance Analyst role, and I couldn’t be happier. As a result of my position-driven access to all Fisher teams, I find myself constantly learning something new, resulting in my role-longevity. Being entrenched in the Compliance team also allows me a firsthand look at how Fisher provides and cares for its clients and employees while constantly striving to do better.
A lot of people believe that developing your career means changing companies, and not infrequently. What has enabled you to develop and advance your career without job hopping?
I believe that people job hop for a few very common reasons: the work they do isn’t challenging them, they aren’t compensated well, they have poor management, or they don’t have a good work-life balance. Achieving job satisfaction can mean any mixture of the aforementioned factors and in varying percentages; I’ve been fortunate enough to find myself working for a firm that provides me with that right combination. I’m in a role that is mentally stimulating, I am compensated extremely well, and I am allowed autonomy that befits my role. At the end of the day I think it is important to ask yourself if you are proud of the work that you do. If you’re just working for a paycheck, you’ll constantly be looking for another job.
What was the best quality of the best manager you’ve ever had?
The manager that stands out to me is one that held me to a higher standard. Subpar attempts at anything were unacceptable. This standard would escalate when she saw you were capable of more. I have always believed that living up to your potential is something that you owe yourself. But with her, there were no excuses. It wasn’t just a belief; it was about putting them into action, and I try to incorporate that advice into not just my work life, but also outside of it.
What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received?
“You can’t be great at being anyone other than yourself.” Any time I’ve tried to solve a problem using someone else’s method, it has either not worked or left me feeling that I’ve done a subpar job. I began to notice this in how I spoke, how I explained things and even how I ran meetings. I realized I was sabotaging my own success story by trying to be something I’m not.
What’s your pre-work morning routine like?
My pre-work morning routine consists of my husband and I waking up at 4:30 a.m. and tag-teaming getting ourselves ready and our kids ready for school. My husband and I carpool, so it involves a lot of chauffeuring. It is a lot of work, but I made the conscious decision of wanting a career and kids. Therefore I’ve accepted that this is my circus, and these are my monkeys. I will say that without a proper routine, it would be absolute chaos.
What’s your go-to stress-relief activity or routine?
Working out. I used to work out because I wanted the end goal of washboard abs. That never happened and never will happen. Now when I work out, it is meditative. I’m really able to zone out and at the end of those 30 minutes, I’m happy. I also do active meditation whenever possible. And then some days, once the kids are in bed, it’s a glass of wine and a chapter or two of a good book.
What kinds of boundaries to you follow (if any) to separate work and family time?
A key component for my husband and I is that neither of us takes our work home. Besides this, we also try to mentally ready ourselves for our second job: our kids. We have our schedules arranged in such a way that we’re able to fit our kids’ after-school activities in and still get to bed at a decent hour. Balancing work and life isn’t easy, but separating the two while remaining cognizant of the success factors for both (and routinely applying them) will offer you a greater chance at maintaining your sanity.
What’s your #1 tip for new moms who are navigating the delicate balance of working and mothering?
Take time for yourself. Understand that you aren’t expected to do it all; that expectation is one mothers often set for ourselves and it isn’t realistic. If you keep pushing and thinking that you can juggle everything all by yourself, something will eventually fall. Find a support system and give yourself at least 30 minutes a day to do whatever you want to do with no interruptions.
Ultimately, what has led you to stay at your company?
It doesn’t take a lot for a company to meet its bare minimum of employee benefits, just enough to make the cut. But Fisher goes well beyond this. Their medical, vision and dental insurance is in a league of its own. Then there are my managers. I have had the privilege of having some really remarkable individuals manage my career and help me in my upward trajectory. Some of them are still my mentors and I don’t really see that changing. They are one of the reasons I love where I am today.
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