“I cannot develop myself because I am doing a boring job!” one of the most common complaints I get from numerous participants of various seminars. Everyone wants to do a job by doing what s/he can develop himself every day. I wish if it was that simple! You want to be a project manager doing a million dollar project by leading 50 people but in reality, you are a junior business associate who mainly compiles reports, so how can you develop yourself and make yourself prepare for the job you dream of? If this is your problem then do not worry, almost every professional out there has faced or is still facing it. I am going to provide you with some suggestions to overcome this development barrier.
Myth about dream job
I really disgust idealistic quotes about this non-ideal corporate world. “Do your dream job” sounds something like dream jobs are available on super shops; you go there and pick one. And most of the times no matter what motivational speakers tell you; this is very challenging to find your true passion. And especially, in a country like Bangladesh where 47% graduates are unemployed. If you are not lucky, it will take much time and effort to get your dream job (assuming you know what your dream job is). And many a time after getting your long cherished dream job, you may find yourself doing ordinary routine work which does not help you to develop continuously.
Suppose, your dream is to be enterprise software developer and you dream of working on large scale automation. But on your present job you are doing some basic HTML, CSS and the opportunity of doing more sophisticated tasks is limited. In such case what should you do? How can you ensure you are preparing yourself for the bigger glory in upcoming days?
Some of us can manage to get dream job that ensures their continuous development. If you are one those lucky one, you do not need to read this article. Just do your job properly. Otherwise, go through the rest of this article.
Step 1: Self-study
Do extensive self-study. Suppose, you want to be a project manager but unless you are a real project manager and you manage real projects, you cannot mitigate your gaps. But what you can do is to minimize the gap. Suppose, you want to be a developer but right now you are doing some reporting tasks. No problem, start self-learning. In this age of internet, you can learn anything if you want. Watch video tutorials, read eBooks, do sample projects, gather information, participate in online competition and so on.
During my student life, I first decided to build my career as a project management professional, at that moment I did not know where to do outside projects. But I knew I could read and started reading. I read many books on project management, people management, agile software development and so on. I used to see YouTube videos on these topics. Of course, bookish knowledge cannot replace practical experience but it is much better than getting disappointment because I am not getting my desired job! And profound theoretical knowledge will surely give you many advantages.
Step 2: Take Coaching
Self-learning may be enough for learning anything. But still, I recommend doing some extra courses if possible. You can do such courses on the internet too. These courses will help you to learn in an organized manner. Surely learning will depend on self-learning mainly and what the instructors say is not always right but these courses will be beneficial for you to determine the effective way of learning. And also, as you want to be something other which you are not right now, these relevant courses on your resume will express your passion to your potential employers.
I have seen many successful IT professionals who are from non-IT background. They do courses from various institutes. Taking coaching is not mandatory but it is worth a shot. Such courses can be a good source of networking too.
Step 3: Do related projects
Suppose, you are a QA professional but you want to switch your career to UI designer. In addition to learning by your own and doing courses, you should try to gain some first-hand experience beforehand. If possible, do some additional tasks at your present office like helping the UI team in various capabilities. If this is not possible, do some outside projects. Do not focus on how much money you are earning from those outside projects; focus on how much you can learn.
Same suggestion goes for other jobs too. What you want to do, do it, if possible do it as an additional responsibility at your current job or do it outside. It will certainly give you a definite edge. I know a friend who was an electrical engineer but wanted to be a UI designer, he used to do this at his company as a volunteer and also he used to do a lot of outside projects. Today he is a successful UI designer.
Step 4: Create network
Suppose, you are a sales executive but you want to make a career in product branding. Now there are various groups on almost all work discipline on Facebook and LinkedIn. Be a member of those groups, participate or create discussions, try to create a professional rapport with personal touch with other members of those groups. You should participate in various seminars on product branding. These seminars will provide you with opportunities to create network. Networking can help you a lot in career transition.
Do not invest too much on creating rapport. Be careful so that your enthusiasm and interest will not bother others.
Getting your dream job and succeeding at it is a continuous process. Do not work hard only, work smartly too. You will reach there.
Arafat Ibn Sultan Riyadh is a seasoned product and project management professional and an agile coach. Moreover, he is a career counselor and motivational speaker. He is currently serving as the Product Manager at Bdjobs.com Ltd. He is cofounder and Strategic Consultant NWIT and Strategic Consultant Activation Ltd. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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