Sunday, December 28, 2008

Career Advice '08

In my previous post, I wrote mostly about how managers should deal with their subordinates. I think most of the time the real work is achieved by regular employees and the delivered quality depends on how the management support the do-ers.

At the same time, having subordinates just doing their job and waiting for their management to come with all solutions is not realistic. I was trying to organize a post on how subordinates should differentiate themselves from the mass when I came across this presentation (thank you Steven[1]): it's a presentation by Gary Reynolds about Dave Pink's bool “Six Career Lessons”.

Career Advice '08
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: presentation pink)

The slide 174 summarizes the six lessons:

Slide 174 from Gary Reynolds' presentation.

Being a technician in a domain with a fantastic innovation trend, I have to emphasize on lessons 2 to 4:
Go beyond being just good at something: become an expert! For example, you can be a proficient developer, push to cover everything you produce with unit tests: you will be able to prove that your production is rock solid. If you know many natural languages, develop easily localizable applications (we produce for a global market).

Work to maintain the excellency of your expertise! Most companies do not let employees thinking freely during the regular hour - to my knowledge, only Google clearly allows it [2]. So you will have to invest your personal time to stay up-to-date.

Share your expertise! Your expertise is useless without you sharing it. Sharing it does not expose you dangerously because potential thieves will not have your experience and because they will not stay up-to-date. In reverse, sharing it will expose you to valuable experiences and feedback from your audience, adding up to your existing sources of information. 
These days, there are so many ways to build and share an expertise:
  • Write an insightful blog;
  • Participate to an open-source project;
  • Publish technical articles (developerWorks [3], MSDN [4], OTN [5], etc.);
  • Speak to conferences (require a lot of energy and often a lot of money);
  • Build a successful project which delivers values to your customers!
Everyone should make his own path, whatever the environment is. If conditions are too tough (because the management is not supportive, for example), look for another place. If they are not so bad, find any occasion to build your expertise and grow yourself ;)

Happy new year 2009!

Tim O'Reilly, on O'Reilly Radar blog, has published a post aligned with my position. Here is principles:
  1. Work on something that matters to you more than money.
  2. Create more value than you capture.
  3. Take the long view.
What? You haven't started demonstrating your value? Just kidding...

Second update:
Tim O'Reilly has been interviewed on the top Work On Stuff That Matters.

The video is on mutliple parts. Check O'Reilly radar webiste for additional parts.

A+, Dom
  1. Steven Milstein's blog
  2. Google Jobs: Work Environment: 20% project concept
  3. IBM developerWorks
  4. Microsoft Developer Network
  5. Oracle Technology Network
  6. Tim O'Reilly post on Work on Stuff that Matters: First Principles

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