If you have a job, you’re probably very busy. You’re now doing the work of three people, struggling to catch your breath.
The difficult part is to think about the long term. You not only need to be valued as a productive worker today, but also need to remain valuable and relevant five years from now. Or ten.
Are you building that foundation for your future career?
This is very tricky. You already feel guilty about not keeping up on the latest developments in the industry, on what’s happening in your company, and not having the time to go take those classes.
The answer is to build it into what you’re already doing. If you need to learn a new piece of software, just try using it for your next project – or even something you’re doing at home. Yes, it may slow you down a little bit, BUT:
- you’re going to be VERY motivated to work through stumbling points as fast as possible, and
- you’re going to be able to claim more expertise when you’re done.
Really have a hard look at which things will give you the most value personally and in your job. There’s a lot of educational opportunities out there, but many of them really won’t make much of a difference in the end. So focus on the ones which will help you get recognized and move to your next career step.
Another trick is to set a strong expectation with a boss or trusted friend. It might get you some help, but more importantly, it creates a small tension within yourself which helps you to work through your resistance to getting started.
But again, just focus on the things that are most important. Ask your boss for advice on this, if only to get another perspective from someone with a broader view.
A third technique is to buddy up with someone who has the expertise you need, or who is seeking to learn it. Together you’ll probably be able to make more progress, even if it’s just through discussions over lunch every few days.
If you’re doing things the same way in five years as you are now, you’ll probably be left behind. Don’t do that to yourself.
by Carl Dierschow