Monday, 3 May 2010

Keeping up with the Joneses: Future-proofing your career

Ellen posted a link to her iPhone commercial, which was funny in a way that only Ellen can make funny.

So she admits that she is not the most tech-savvy person out there, but she does make the effort in keeping up with trends and changes.

Sad to say, many people in their professional lives do not. They are content to just keep on doing whatever it is they do and not work on areas which may need an upgrade. Now you may not be the best writer in the world, but you can work on improving it by writing more each day or each week. You may not be the most techonlogically inclined person, but you can understand a little bit what new trends are impacting your organisation and how it will impact the way YOU work. You may not understand social media for example, but try exploring how others are using it and don't just surrender to ignorance.

Most people get bored with their job at one time or another. Even the media-glamourised communications field gets pretty darn stale sometimes. Some days, I just don't get it - why am I here? I was glad it was not just me. But I have found that exploring the career you have chosen for yourself and finding new and innovative practices, networking with peers and sharing experiences with them, and keeping up with the Joneses basically helps to stem mental/emotional inertia, as well as adds value to your YOU brand.

And it does not mean going back to school necessarily and getting an expensive degree. You can work on yourself from your couch, with weekend reading, be it via your professional blogroll, industry publications or papers, or through membership in associations and participation in think tanks, or using some initiative and trying new ideas in your professional activities. My weekend projects add some variety to my day job, and provides opportunities for trying new things as well and learning something new from the fab women I interact with.

I have interacted with a lot of people who are just willing to settle with what they do and get paid for what they do, without trying to build on their personal product. Just...could not be bothered. Noone is good at everything. You may suck at some things, may literally loathe some areas of your job, but do you have to be a complete and total failure? No. You can work on that area of weakness so it does not become a liability, but instead an opportunity. And if you try to love what you do, then trying to keep up with what you do becomes less a chore and more a desire. My God...don't aim to become a relic in your profession. Some old cars have antique value. But you're not an old car, so don't bet on resting on your laurels and being sought after.

So while Ellen's ad is funny and whimsical, in real life, being that clueless is not that endearing. So how are you keeping up with your professional Joneses.


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