Two approaches to training
Plan A – Walk into a shop. Tools everywhere. Let’s learn them, then build a table
Plan B – Walk into a shop. Let’s build a table. What kind? What tools? How
I follow Plan B, but, what does “build a table” mean, and what are the tables? If you are a job
seeker, they are – find your job, grow your job, and grow yourself.
In this blog I elaborate on tools and actions that will enhance your skills to get and keep a job and thereby to build your career.
Note – I am a retired engineer. My job experience is with big companies. My language will sound
industrial. Still, I have made an attempt to speak to job seekers wherever they are with their present-day skills.
The Five Skills
Skill #1. FIND A JOB THAT FITS – use what you already know.
Skill #2. DO YOUR JOB – learn what the employer wants you to do and do it.
Skill #3. GROW YOUR JOB – learn to expand on what you already know.
Skill #4. GROW YOURSELF – learn personal skills that are new to you.
Skill # 5. LOOK AHEAD – look for what is fading and what is emerging.
Skill # 1. Find the job that fits
Study your potential employer. What do they do? want? need? What are the specific skills they are
looking for? Can you match them or learn on the fly?
Learn the company‘s philosophy before interviewing. Who is running the show – engineering,
marketing, or manufacturing? on-site or remote? How do they relate to their customers? What are their ethical guidelines towards customers? towards workers?
Study the company history for the past several years, also their current staff members. Who do you know who knows them?
If they don’t want you, you don’t want them.
Skill #2. Do your job
Get done what you were hired to do.
What is your job description? How well do your skills match the job?
Are there performance guides, performance reviews, problem resolution proceedings? What are your specific skills that you were hired to use? How do they fit with the new job? Will they
fit directly, or will you be expected to use them as a starting point to work on problems you have never seen before?
How does the company (or your boss) let you know what to do?
What are the right ways, the wrong ways, the system? Who has the signature authority to authorize expenditures? What are the territorial boundaries? What is forbidden? Encouraged? What normal words are actually code words? like ‘opportunity’ or ‘issue’.
The undocumented network
Who are the few people who really understand how your group functions and interacts with other groups?
Skill #3. Grow your job
Set yourself in context.
What other job functions are going on around you?
Interview coworkers and find out –
– what will make your job easier?
– what will increase your ability to contribute?
– what will increase your ability to communicate with workers with different skill sets and job functions?
Find new job needs. Train yourself to fill them.
Learn the corporate culture. Who makes decisions? Who gets listened to?
Learn how to influence what is being planned.
Skill #4. Grow yourself
“1. Think first of the other fellow. This is THE foundation — the first requisite — for getting along with others. And it is the one truly difficult accomplishment you must make. Gaining this, the rest will be “a breeze.”“
So, is “Think first of the other fellow” a skill that can be learned? And how can you improve upon it?
Here are my thoughts.
Think in Context – Within the context of your jobs, what are the reasons for fellowship? What are the advantages of fellowship?
Be Compassionate – We are all human, all seeking to fill our own needs. Attack the problem, not the person. Acknowledge that and keep it in mind, no matter with whom you work, even difficult
people. The Dali Lama advises, “Pray to have enemies. You can not learn compassion from your friends.”
Trade Off – I help you today. You help me tomorrow.
Pay It Forward – I’ll help you without expectation of personal return, and I will hope that you will help the next person.
Everybody wants to succeed.
Nobody can do it alone.
Skill #5. Look ahead
Anticipate the emerging future.
Read, listen, watch.
What is the 3-year trajectory of the company – up, down, sideways?
Who are the company customers? How are they changing?
What is the 3-year trajectory of your job position?
Who are your customers? How are they changing?
What is the 3-year trajectory of yourself?
Who are you? How are you changing?
Look for Serendipity – Reach out to discover overlapping needs and interests. This discovery can lead to something unanticipated and welcome.
Every job presents you an opportunity to learn. Be curious.