The High-Tech Career Handbook
|A weekly ComputorEdge Column by Douglas E. Welch|
5 small risks to take today
July 29, 2005
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Career growth comes from challenging your own limits – stretching yourself and reaching for new knowledge and new capabilities. Despite all the benefits, though, many of us avoid challenges or situations that make us unsure of our own abilities. Instead of letting fear slow down or stop the growth of your career, you need to take a few small risks each and every day.
1. Start a Blog
If you don’t already have a blog, I strongly suggest you start one. There is something freeing about having a place to share all the neat items you come across in your life...the great software, web sites, parks, restaurants and more. You could just as easily keep a paper journal or diary, but I figure that if other people can benefit from your knowledge, put it out there where people can find it.
Additionally, a blog can operate as a sort of “outboard
brain.” There are many times when I can’t remember a particular
web site or product, but a simple search of my blog takes me right to
the information I need.
Even as high-tech workers, we can get very narrowminded in our software choices, especially operating systems such as Windows, Linux and Mac OS. Take a small step tp break out of your rut. If you are a Windows expert, setup a test system with Linux or Mac. Play around with different types of software. Have you ever tried mind-mapping, download and install Freemind, a open source mind-mapping program that is available for many different platforms. It matters little what new software you try. The benefit is in the act of trying new things, and building your flexibility.
3. Apply for a new job
Even if you aren’t looking for a new job right now, check out the classifieds every so often. You never know what you might find. Take the next step and apply for the job, even interview for it, if you are asked. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You might end up finding a job much better than your current one. Even if you don’t, you will be opening your mind to new opportunities and getting a feel for the possibilities.
Do you have a strong opinion about something? Why not write it up and send it to your local newspaper. I never thought I would be published in the Los Angeles Times, but there have been 2 or 3 occasions when some news story has caught my interest and prompted me to write. If I hadn’t taken the few minutes to write the piece and send it in, I wouldn’t have some of the great clippings I have in my portfolio and would have missed an opportunity to have an effect beyond my everyday life. Again, the risk here is low. You only risk being rejected by one editor, but you might also have hundreds of thousands of people reading your words, if you only take the chance.
This might sound a bit silly, but sometimes just getting
out of your neighborhood and finding a new place to eat can help to clear
the cobwebs from your mind. Get away from the chain restaurants. Find
some small diner or cafe that looks like it has a lot of character. Even
if the food is only so-so, the experience will kickstart any number of
ideas. If your experience is like mine, you will find much more than just
another restaurant. You will see new stores, new neighborhoods and meet
new people that you might never have met otherwise.
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