Mars executive Shaid Shah advises job-hoppers how to grow within current roles

Gen Z and millennial workers don’t tend to stay in one place for too long. The youngest cohorts of workers have a bad rep for hopping from one job to another—often in search of better pay, progression, and seniority.

But instead of constantly searching for pastures new, you may be better off watering the side you’re on, according to one of Mars’ most senior executives, Shaid Shah.

Since joining the $50 billion global food and pet care giant in 2007, after a career at AB InBev, he’s steadily climbed the ranks from sales director to the helm of its Food & Nutrition department.

It’s taken almost two decades, but Shah is now sitting firmly on the company’s leadership team and holds the title of global president of Mars Food & Nutrition.

“I would say to any young worker, explore the opportunities within your organization,” he told Fortune. “The grass always seems greener outside.” 

Shah offers several tips for ensuring workers grow—and don’t stagnate—in their organization.

Two ways of watering the side you’re on

First up, get a mentor. Just 52% of Gen Zers say they have a mentor, according to Adobe’s recent research.

But Shah—who has been mentored by senior staffers both internally at Mars and outside of the company—insists “they’ve been instrumental” to his growth. 

A mentor can provide an outside perspective on your career, working relations and challenges—even Hollywood’s Will Smith has admitted that without one, he may not have starred in The Pursuit of Happyness, Ali, or Men in Black.

“You probably can’t do much of anything in this life, at a high level, without a rock-solid team,” Smith said in a candid conversation with comedian Kevin Hart on his podcast Hart to Heart.

“I always think that the real success is a combination of, yes, hard work, yes, your ability to be able to learn and grow, but equally by how you’re supported,” Shah said, echoing Smith. “I have mentors and coaches that work with me on specific things that I may want to develop and help me to get the best out of what I’m capable of.”

Another way to maximize your potential at your current gig is to seek out learning opportunities—that is, taking on stretch assignments and talking with your manager about what development opportunities there are in other areas of the business.

Take this time to figure out what you want to do, not what you think you should. 

“Keep learning, keep nurturing people around you, be a team player, and most importantly, think about the deeper purpose,” Shah concluded.

What if there is no room to grow?

Ultimately, the onus on growing within your current firm isn’t completely on you.

If there aren’t ample roles at your firm—or worse, your manager isn’t empowering you to grow—then perhaps it’s time to change jobs. 

“What I love about an organization like Mars is it has so many different aspects and dimensions to it, it has so many different variables of opportunity that, and I think if you spent a whole career at Mars, you would probably get through only a fraction of them,” Shah reflected. 

Over 17 years at Mars, Shah has taken on six roles, moving him across the world from the U.K. to Australia and Germany.

But it wouldn’t have been possible without some steer from above: “It’s really important that we, as employers, provide that aspiration, that energy that helps people not only join us, but to stay with us and to grow with us.”

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