This week, my gentleman associate and I are headed to Kentucky (#notgoingtothefair) so he can take a woodworking course. So in the last few days, he’s had his toolbox and two additional tool bags in my living room, spread out in a thin layer. There’s a tool list for the course, so he’s making sure he has everything he needs, and taking out the stuff he doesn’t. I watched this with interest. He turned over the tools in his hands, then put it in the pile in which it belonged. The ones on the Take pile were then sharpened, and put into the toolbox he’s taking with him on this trip.
The good folks in the People and Culture department at $Dayjob are always providing us with videos and blogs and resources to make us think about our career development. I’m mid-career, and I like the toolbox of skills I’ve amassed over my career so far. I also like that my $Dayjob wants me to jam more things into that toolbox. And maybe get a legit tool chest. One of those ones with a rolley cover like an antique secretary desk. Yeaaaaah…. That’s totally what I (figuratively) need.
I’ve struggled in the last few years with my career development, though. When I dump out all my tools onto my desk, I don’t see any big gaps of “Things I wish I knew how to do”, so when I asked my friend Dr. Googlez what people in the middle of their career should do, it said “be a manager”. *sigh*
It’s not that I don’t like leadership trajectory, I’m actually pretty good on that front. I just really truly don’t like management as an option. No thanks.
But I still want to learn and grow in my position. So earlier this week, when I was watching one of the People and Culture offerings, the speaker said:
Natural inclination is to rely on what you know and avoid the work of learning. What you *know* can become dysfunctional, but if you continue to learn, you continue to discard old beliefs about what you know and develop new ones.
Maybe I don’t need a bigger boat… er… tool belt for all the bits I’m hoarding like a dragon. I should edit the stuff buried in the bottom of that toolbox and see what’s still useful.
Randomly, someone that I worked with 15+ years ago will recommend me on LinkedIn for a tool I haven’t used in a decade. Oh peeps, thanks, but that’s maybe not helpful. So I know, in theory, that I’m self-editing the things I actually carry around with me, kinda. It’s safe at this point to store my l33t Robohelp skillz somewhere else. I’ve been able to carry forward the transferable skills from the WaybackLand learnin’, and put everything else in a different toolbox.
Back to the trip planning. It’s fun to watch how excited Mike is for this opportunity. He doesn’t get much opportunity for professional development in his current position (or, really, in his field), so this is a good step he’s taking.
The universe conspires to give me messages, if I’m just savvy enough to pay attention to the serendipity of things that happen around me. There are many toolboxes in my world, for many things. It’s time for inventory.
Here’s the video I watched: