Third Rule of Knowledge Workers: It’s your Career!

Last week, in the second rule, I talked about how, when management is pushing for you to account for every minute of those 40 hours a week, it’s tempting to give them exactly that, and nothing more. The third rule could also be called, why you shouldn’t do that!

No matter what your employer does, and the end of the day, it’s your career, not theirs. There may have been a day, though I kind of doubt it, when you could work somewhere and expect that they would give you whatever training you need, or look out for new opportunities for you, and make the right connections for you, but if you’re waiting around for management to do that for you now, you’re going to be severely disappointed!

Don’t wait for your boss to come tell you when you can go to training, who you should be mentored by, or what opportunities might be available to you. Use whatever tools you have at your disposal to do it for yourself! Get connected to people in your field whenever possible, sign up for free webinars, follow them on twitter, go to local events whenever possible, get involved on LinkedIn, get involved with the people you already know, find out who they know, ask about people who might be able to help you, etc. Heck, read some books for that matter!

Yes, it’s true that you’ll be spending some of your non-work time working on your career. Boo freakin hoo! It’s your career, if you can’t be bothered to spend some time working on it, and getting the career you want, and deserve, then you’ll end up with the career your employer wants you to have. What they want you to have is completely based on what benefits them, not your plans. (Though a good employer will try and consider both what benefits them, and what will keep you there, not all employers are that good. Most, I would guess, are not.)

A good knowledge worker doesn’t check out at 5PM and quit working on bettering themselves and their career. They know that learning and networking are valuable enough tools for their career that they’ll make time for it, even if their boss doesn’t recognize it as “work”.

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