Would you read a story or novel where, at the end, nothing has changed?
Would you feel anything for a character who has learned nothing over
the course of the book? Would you read the next book in the series?
I think not. That fact is, change is what makes a great story. We want
characters who learn new things and change over time. We want to know
more about them. We want to understand their decisions based on past
behavior. The same goes for your career. If you aren't changing, both
personally and professionally, why should anyone care about your career?
We have all seen them -- people who got their first job right out
of high school and never left. They are doing the same work today
they started doing 10, 15, 20 years ago. This isn't to say that they
are bad people or bad workers, only that the failure to change, for
whatever reason, can trap us in our lives and our work. If you want
to insure a more successful, and varied, career you need to embrace
change and communicate that change to those around you.
In the past, I have talked extensively about developing career stories
that can be used to explain your work, and your career desires, to
those around you. "Change stories" are one particular type
of these stories. In my experience, communicating your career change
is as important as change itself. Without it, you may have changed
dramatically, but unless others know it, it makes no difference.
So, how do you share the changes in your life with those around you?
It is often as simple as opening your mouth. Do you discuss the new
books you are reading with others? How about new software, computers
and gadgets? What magazines or web sites have you discovered recently?
Do you let your friends know when you enjoy one of their recommendations?
If not, make a point to start sharing your changes today. Recommend
that great book on management to someone who might find it useful.
Forward a particularly good, and appropriate, web article to your
boss or co-workers. Let those around you know how your knowledge
are changing over time.
I consider change communication to be one of the most important aspects
of my writing, both here and in my
blogs. I love sharing neat, new
information with people, but it also gives me a chance to show how
my thoughts and knowledge are changing over time. This is especially
true when I have some form of epiphany that changes something fundamental
about my work or life. Perhaps I have stopped recommending a particular
piece of software or discovered a new type of cuisine. This makes
my life more interesting, both to me and, hopefully, to my readers,
and family. It is an important aspect of giving my life, and my life
story, some excitement. Just like a character in a great novel, it
makes people want to know more about me.
To bring this back to the work world, what changes are you communicating
to your managers and coworkers? Have you been reading management books
lately? Which ones? Did you enjoy them? What lessons did you learn?
If you aspire to management, the simple act of sharing your thoughts
on these books is enough to plant that idea in your managers mind. "Hmm,
we need a new manager for this department. You know, I was talking
about the latest Tom Peter's book with Douglas the other day and he
really seemed to know his stuff. Maybe we should ask him." While
this is an idealized scenario, you can clearly see how communicating
the changes in your life can plant the seed that could grow into something
Want to be a programmer? Start talking programming with your co-workers.
Want to move into advertising, or graphics, or anything else, start
sharing your thoughts, reading and learning with those around you.
Tell your story frequently and well to all who will listen. Share
the story of your life and career changes. Let others know where
headed and what you want. If you do, I think you will be pleasantly
surprised at the new opportunities that come your way, both in your
career and in your life.
- END -