By February 28, 2014 10 Comments Read More →

Fight Career Frustration With Learning

If you work in IT, the office becomes your second home.  It’s where we make a living, and most of us take a lot of pride in the work we do.  We feel good when we’ve put in a successful day at the office, however we also have those days where instead of feeling successful, we feel discouraged.  When the discouraging days start to outweigh the successful ones, we may start to question whether or not we’re heading down the right career path.  The office can be a great place to become motivated, but it can also get you down quickly when things aren’t going well.

Combat the negative thoughts by spending time honing in your craft at home.  You’re probably saying “I don’t have time”, and I hear you.  Between family, errands, and other commitments many people believe there is no way they can fit anything else in.  If you’re in this boat, I challenge you to really think about this.  Write down your schedule for a typical week and find gaps.  Once you’ve found the gaps, decide which ones you can fill with learning.  Come up with a training plan and write it down.  Is there a book you’ve been meaning to read? A new feature that you haven’t had a chance to play with yet?  Want to get that blog started?

Once you’ve found the time, all you need is motivation.  A technique I use is viewing my accomplishments at work and at home as two separate entities.  This way, spending time on my skills at home feels like a new challenge.  I’ve reached the senior level for my position, but in terms of building my brand and contributing to the SQL Server community, I’m at a pretty junior level.  The best part about this technique?  I decide when I get promoted.

Those positive feelings we have at the office when things are going well can be a more permanent state of mind rather than a fleeting thought.  Since I’ve started this blog and made it a priority to spend a few hours a week making myself better, I’ve definitely noticed an improvement in my attitude and overall state of mind.  I have an easier time brushing things off that before would have ruined my day, and my excitement for my career is at an all time high.  I’ve always enjoyed what I do, but now I’m starting to love it.

10 Comments on "Fight Career Frustration With Learning"

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  1. Niraj Mitchell says:

    I completely agree with your comments Adam. I have a family and very often I find that by the time all has been dealt with, I may have around 30 minutes downtime before it gets to late and I get too tired!

  2. Hilda says:

    So true, thank you for bringing to my mind the possibility. It’s hard to find the time but there is if you’re willing to dig for it. Thank you for the reminder and encouragement.

  3. Mary says:

    Be careful where you go with that. I’ve been in the business for 20+ years, always loved my job and enjoyed learning new tech or new skills. I have developed a reputation for being able to learn new things very quickly. Now, it is expected of me, and I get handed assignments that I have to learn new things in order to complete them. I am allowed to research and learn on the job with great e-learning courses, but I never really have time to absorb what I am learning, let alone – enjoy it. This is starting to lean towards a state of burn-out and when I get home, I don’t even want to see a computer. I think it’s great to hone your skills and learn new things, but sometimes I think that you should first use your hometime on yourself and leave work at work. It also helps to encourage your workplace and your bosses to foster a culture of learning at work. Most employers realize that the more you learn, the more valuable you are.

    • akreul says:

      Thanks for reading, Mary. I certainly wasn’t suggesting to spend all of your free time outside of work on your career – we all need other hobbies. Everyone’s situation is different, and what works for me may not work for you. I definitely agree that the workplace should foster learning!

    • Niraj Mitchell says:

      I agree with your comments Mary, Most of my learning is done at work. I don’t and won’t send every day honing my skills at home. Home is for Family.

  4. Gary says:

    I’ll agree with Mary somewhat. I believe that it is a good thing to develop your skill set on your own as long as you can control it. Right now, I’m a jack of all trades, master at none and I am bored out of my skull. Most days I go home and feel like I haven’t accomplished a thing. There is no path each day, just see what comes up and deal with it.

    • akreul says:

      Hey Gary,
      I think there are a lot of people in that boat, and that’s one of the main reasons I wanted to write this post. I think all too often we get caught up in just ‘keeping the lights on’, and I think we can easily forget that we enjoy this line of work.

  5. Aditya Kumar says:

    Instead of finding free time at home, I find free time at work to learn new things. I make sure no one can accuse me of not delivering projects on time and with the time saved I read about something I’ve always wanted to learn about or play with some technology that I’ve wanted to use before.

    I have to agree that home is for family and work is for work, I never bring work home with me. Unfortunately I’m too much of a geek to stay away from it completely but I try!

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