It’s college graduation time once again. I’ve been speaking with many undergraduate, as well as graduate, students about “what they want to be when they grow up.” Few of them have a definite answer. Their LinkedIn profiles are a testimonial to their indecision and lack of strategic focus in even one or two areas of core competency.
They are not alone. There are a lot of mature business and technical professionals out there with nondescript LinkedIn profiles as well.
It seems that everyone is waiting for Someone to hand them a Recipe for Their Success. Don’t hold your breath.
Do you find yourself hesitant to put yourself out there and take a chance on your first job, or changing jobs? Your hesitation may be founded on your not knowing what the outcome of your decision will be: your decision to take the chance in the first place.
If you are applying for jobs, or are in a current position and want to move on within your present company or apply to another company, take a look at the job description you are targeting. Is it titled: “This is the perfect job for YOU and only You. As a result of being hired, you will now have a perfect life, will understand how to do your job perfectly from Day One, will get along with everyone perfectly, and will never experience any self-doubt or stress.”
I didn’t think so either.
Don’t lose sight of the fact that education does not prepare you to do your job perfectly. In fact, it may not even prepare you to do your job at all. Education provides you with a set of skills that can be applied to functional job requirements. The outcome depends on you, the company, your work environment, the deliverables specified by customers, and, quite frankly, what you ate for breakfast today and whether it’s allergy season or not.
Hopefully, the skill sets you have acquired via various educational and certification processes will provide the structural underpinning that allow you to produce output that is deemed valuable by your employer and the customer. However, often there is a steep learning curve involved in taking what you learned in college and applying it to the real world.
You will learn a lot on the job. What you learned in school, in very short order, will morph into how “what you know” is applied to the technical and business world. That stuff can’t be learned in a book. You can’t prep for all of the scenarios that will be thrown at you.
It’s not perfect. It’s not supposed to be.
Practical application of skills training has as many outcomes as there are people seeking to produce the same type of product or deliverable.
The goal is homogeneity of output. Especially if you are in a Six Sigma, or Zero Defect or Lean environment.
In the process of creating output, meeting sales quotas, producing deliverables, it’s not going to be perfect.
Every day, if not hour, may introduce a wrinkle into the equation. There are times you won’t be sure about what you are doing. It’s no one’s call but yours whether to ask for help or continue winging it. You’ll find out in short order whether you made the right call or not.
There’s no recipe someone is going to hand you for how to not mess up at work. You will. More than once. Just don’t repeat the same mess up. Please go on to bigger and better ones: it means you are comfortable taking risks rather than leading a prescriptive business life.
There’s no mirror you can preen and watch yourself role-play at doing your job. You aren’t participating in a reality show. You are living your professional life front and center on your own stage.
You are responsible for writing your own recipe for success. Living your life through the eyes of others doesn’t cut it.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo back into small and mid-sized businesses, particularly in the manufacturing sector. She builds vibrant revenue-producing business strategies for technical start-ups seeking investors and early customers. Download her newest White Paper by clicking here at the Free Resources Page.