I love fresh starts. Growing up, one of my favorite things was starting a new school year. From the fresh school supplies (I am still a sucker for pen and paper) to the promise of a new class of students, teachers, and lessons, I couldn't wait for summer to be over and to go back to school.
The same thing happens with new jobs (and to some extent, new teams and new projects). They reinvigorate you, excite you, and get you going.
The trouble is that starting anew isn't something you get to do all the time. For some people it might happen once a year, once every two years, or once every four years. Furthermore, learning something new isn't always in the best interest of your employer. Of course, great managers want you constantly to be learning and advancing your career, but if you are doing your job well, they also probably like the idea of keeping you in that role where they can rely on you to get the work done. Putting you into a position where you will have to work hard to learn new skills isn't always best for your companyand so it probably doesn't happen often.
Wouldn't it be great if you frequently were in a position where you were pushed to grow outside of your comfort zone? Where you had to start new and fresh?
Well, the good news is you can. In fact, you can make your current position one that focuses on your growth and extends the boundaries of your knowledgeand that is all up to you.
In technology and computer science, almost more than any other field, a growth mind-set is mandatory for success. In this field the tools and best practices are constantly evolvingthere is always something new to learn. For many people this high rate of change can be overwhelming, but for the right person this can mean opportunity. When you are willing to dive in and learn new skills, it puts you ahead of the game; and when you are strategic about what skills you learn, it can help you grow your career even faster.
No matter where you are in your career, there is more to learn. All of us can always use an excuse to get more invigorated and excited by our jobs. Here are three steps you can take to develop your current role and make tomorrow (or even the rest of today) a fresh start.
When you have been doing a job for a while, there isn't as much for you to learn in your day-to-day. Sure, there are always opportunities to improve little things, but your rate of knowledge acquisition slows down the longer you have been in a position. This makes it even more important to have a learning plan. You should have a list of things you plan to learn with some concrete tasks associated with each. If you need some inspiration on what should be on this list, here are some questions to ponder:
Most of us spend more time with our coworkers than our families. When you have great relationships with the people you work with every day, you tend to be happierand you tend to be more productive and collaborative. Also, when people like you and want to help you, then you are more likely to get promoted and discover opportunities. Here are two ideas for improving your working relationships:
One of my favorite time-management tricks is using spare minutes to maximize your learning. When you can make the most of the small moments and learn things that help advance your career, then you will be one step ahead. This can be as simple as nixing social-media checks and replacing them with 10-15 minutes of reading articles or websites that help increase your knowledge. Here are some other ideas to get more out of those little moments:
Of course, there are lots of other great ways to make your old career new again, but these little ideas could give you inspiration so that when you come to work tomorrow you can be excited.
If you have any other thoughts or suggestions, feel free to send them to me. And if there is a topic you would like to see covered, let me know.
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