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Home > Audio, Podcast, Show > The Care And Feeding of Your Career – Podcast

The Care And Feeding of Your Career – Podcast

February 14th, 2011

Career Opportunities podcast logoYour career isn’t just something you set on autopilot and forget. Sure, you might be engaged in a great job at the moment and enjoying your work, but even then you need to be constantly monitoring and adjusting your career. Times change and along with them the economy, the stability of your company and your own wants, needs and desires. Be happy, sure, but don’t let it lull you into a false sense of security. You need to keep building your career, even when you seem on the right path.

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For me, one of the most important factors of building your career is constant and consistent learning. Sometimes, when we are in the midst of the good job, we forget that the world continues on. Innovations are created every day, but they might not filter down into your work until much later. You can very get comfortable with your company’s systems, software and organization and miss the most important new trends.

Feeds

In the “old” days of my IT career, keeping in touch meant reading a host of weekly trade magazines about technology, computer networks and computers. I used to have a constantly revolving stack about 3 feet high in my office with new magazines arriving every day. Thankfully, now,it is much easier to keep in touch with your industry , thanks to the web, RSS feeds and RSS readers.

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you point your browser to Reader.Google.com and set up today’s equivalent of my old stack of magazines. Reader allows you to add the RSS feeds of any blog, web site, newspaper, trade magazine that you find interesting and monitor it for the latest news and information. Today I monitor over 1100 RSS feeds on a variety of topics including technology, food, gardening, and new media. Without Reader (or some other RSS feed reader) there would be no way I could manage that information flow and tease out the useful information found there.

I rarely read print magazines today, but I find reading my RSS feeds perfectly analogous to the way I used to flip through my magazine reading. I can do it on my iPhone or my computer no matter where I might be. I can read while waiting in line, at lunch or anywhere else I have a few minutes. RSS makes it easy for your to keep in touch with what is happening in your areas of interest without spending hours clicking from source to source. Let the information come to you, instead of running from one web site to another.

Books

Of course, not everything comes in the form of an easily consumed RSS feed. There are still a wide variety of traditional books that can bring new insights and information to you and your career. If you don’t do so already, start maintaining a list of “to read” books and publications. I am currently using GoodReads.com to keep my list, as well as share my reading choices with friends. As I complete one book on my list, I look to my “to read” list and request another from my local library. If you tend to buy your books, this can be the signal that it is time to head to the brick and mortar or online ebook store for the next item on your reading list. Just like your RSS feeds, this “to read” list offers a constant reminder that there are interesting books you should be investigating.

Your own personal Masters Degree

Even though my wife is completing her Doctorate in History this year, I decided that getting a graduate degree was probably not one of my main goals. I tend to be a very self-directed learner and over the years I have pursued what I call “my own personal Masters Degree.” Basically, whenever I hit upon a topic that interests me I dive into it as deeply as possible. I have always believed that being a geek in one thing (technology for example) tends to make you a geek in all things. So I have immersed myself in all sorts of interests including the study of creativity and innovation, business, and career development as well as more diverse areas like coffee, wine, food and art.

I also use books, video and podcasts as a way of supplementing the knowledge I gained in my undergraduate career. Shows from the BBC such as In Our Time and Thinking Allowed (both available via podcast) provide short, yet amazing informative, seminars on topics ranging from Aristotle, to The Wiemar Republic, to current research on social polices. It is my own personal Masters seminar class each and every week. Ted Talks, from Ted.com, are another great source of cutting edge thought. Finally, the slightly more quirky talks from Ignite events around the world leaven all the heavier learning with some intriguing new ideas you might not have heard elsewhere.

Whether you seek out my sources listed above, or find your own unique learning resources, I hope that you do seek them out. Feed your career and feed your mind. For me, this is the most important way of building the career you deserve.



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