The process we all go through in order to grow and be prepared for our professional life is a killer. A killer of productivity, a killer of creativity and a killer of our own racional thinking and thoughts. We all just sit in a desk, in front of a black or white board, look to our teacher and listen to his/her lecture. This method of teaching/learning will change eventually but not today. Today we need to seek knowledge to ourselves so we can fight for our lives career. If everyone knows the same thing or process then we’ll become only numbers in millions so what makes us different and unique is not based on our knowledge but how we respond with that same knowledge, if we just memorize a math problem or if we understand it’s concept.
So if you are still learning/studying or just want to start from scratch in a new career I recommend the following.
- FIND YOUR PLAYGROUND
There are so many possibilities and yet we have all to be in the same way at school to take profit of it. We need to be quiet, pay attention, do our homework, do some tests, etc, apart from working with our emotions and our growing hormones.
What we should really do in our first 15 years of studying in school is not just have good grades and pay attention in class. We should focus on what we are good at, what we like to do and learn how to make it in a profitable way. People that have remarkable grades should keep studying if they really love that, it’s their playground, period. But what about people that are not? Well our economy is not just made of scholars, we also have people that teach, people that take care of others, people that do for us the work we do not know or don’t want to do, people that create good experiences, people that revive old memories through cultural events ,etc. There is a hole bunch of different work to be done and to be discovered.
Why shouldn’t you become a baker if you love the art and craft of it? Nowadays bakers are making food for people with food intolerance, gamers are making live streams and earning money. You never know when the thing you love to do will become a full time job. Prepare yourself and be there for the taking.
2. GET A MENTOR
We aren’t born ready for the world, that’s why we still crawl and stick at the side of our parents, our first mentors in life. We learn from them our first social skills and this will shape our behaviour, how we interact with people and how strong we can take a punch of rejection in our life.
The next group of mentors are our teachers. They teach us about discipline and how to work through our learning problems. Not every teacher does this but some of them are capable of sharing their love and enthusiasm in their lectures, which will makes us curious and more interest in that matter. My last math teacher didn’t helped me in understanding why I needed math but he loved math and had lots of patience with me and that made me want to go forth, probably I wouldn’t try coding if we didn’t crossed paths.
At the point we go into the business world we just stop having mentors and this is another killer. Some of our future bosses didn’t have mentors either so they will think you have to go through the same hell, and shit, as they did. You’ll ear things like: “Figure it out by yourself”, “don’t be a slacker”, “do over hours”, etc. In this case ignore it and search for somebody else, any real grown up will know you need someone to help you along your way into the company.
This is the second ingredient for success, it is time for you to find a mentor, especially one that went the same path as you or it’s in the same business you want to be, to share with you his knowledge and experience in order to help you achieve your goals within minimum losses. His purpose is not to help you with your work but rather give you useful feedback, share his thoughts, try to help you in working your way by yourself while relieving you from useless struggle.
At first I didn’t knew how much important was to have a mentor. 5 years ago I realised how much people needed one, how much I needed one. Since then I looked for mentors as well and they’ve helped me a lot. They didn’t solve my problems for me: they advised me, warned me, shared my defeats and my achievements, but never did my work.
3. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
There is not much to write about it, the title speaks for it self but I’ll let you some side notes.
To achieve an higher performance and technical skill in your new founded trait or career you need to practice a lot above all else. You should practice in real time and with real customers, real people, forget those personal daily projects or startups wannabe ideas that you have, those will come soon. Your sole priority is to test and practice your new skills in a job-like environment, so work for other people projects, this way you’ll get experience with the technical stuff while communicating with a real client (and this one is a plus in most companies point of view).
Be brave, be bold. Say yes to new challenges so you can practice and gather feedback. Go and talk to potencial clients, manage meetings so you can ear what that have to say, what pains them the most and why they need someone with your skills (why can’t they do it for themselves). This process is helping me with my web development skills by setting meetings, starting new projects with different clients and understanding how to make money with this.
More important about working for other people projects: Never ever ever accept a work without payment ( not even a low-cost price, sacrifice some over hours at the most ) or something in return. If you’re doing a internship be sure the company can offer you a good experience and growth during your time with them. Internships are meant for both of you (company and intern) to take mutual benefits and not to take advantage of no-cost work. The company offers you their space and knowledge and you your will (and sometimes your soul) that is it, if they want you to turn into a robot for their assembly work think twice and take it at your own risk.
You can also work with a non-profit organisation but don’t deviate from your goal: real people with real money and real problems. Non-profits really need help, but since they are not paying for your work they may not be picky and anything you’ll make will be wonderful for them. This is not very good because you won’t get a real feedback from a furious or grumpy client.
Well this is it, a recipe with just 3 single ingredients, pretty easy hum?
By the way, if you are wandering why I’m still using the daily challenge hash tag then I shall explain: I’m still writing every single day and since my articles are growing a little bit more in content I’m only publishing them when they are ready.
Hope you have enjoyed this reading as much as I had while writing it.