Monday, January 19, 2015

Make time to learn

The first day on a new job, start thinking about your next job and what you need to know to get it. Make a list of the skills, the people, and the resources you will need to get your next dream job. Keep this list in mind every time you select an industry conference or a project assignment. Keep asking if the conference or assignment will help you fulfill your list. Remember to keep your profiles updated with your new skills, connections and opportunities. Plotting your progress will be encouraging to you and will put you on the short list of recruiters.

When I was in junior high my dad gave me some wise advice. He said that if I spend 15 minutes everyday reading the latest articles in my field, then I will be one of the leading experts in that field in 10 years. He was right, even after changing my field several times I have been able to demonstrate above average understanding and achieve above average results.

Colleagues often ask me about how I learned to program. My Bachelor's Degree is not in computer science and doesn’t have programming or computers in the title. I learned to program by spending time everyday failing at it. I also learned marketing, project management and a whole list of other skills by spending time every day failing at them. It is important to set aside time to act foolish, flounder and fail with new ideas. By failing we learn what didn’t work and eventually stumble upon what does work. When I finally did stumble upon what does work I understood it so thoroughly that I was able to use it to get an interview, a new job and increase my income.

I have made a habit of spending at least 15 minutes everyday learning something new. It has helped me to stay ahead of the game, be more productive, and better understand the business environments I find myself in.