Building a career is hard work. It takes time and focus to move along a path that you choose for yourself. What I have seen across a few decades of work is that most people don’t bother to find a path, and are happy to wander from job to job, finding new positions or projects when they are forced to do so. As much as I advocate for others to continually learn, there’s nothing wrong with wandering randomly through a career, sticking with a job or employer as long as you can.
The one thought that I’d like to see everyone adopt is a conscious decision to do so. Make the choice to have the career you want, and the life you want, whatever that is for you.
Recently on Twitter, there has been a lot of career advice that I’ve seen posted. One very interesting item was that a developer shouldn’t compare themselves to anyone else. They should be proud of what they’ve done and work towards the goals and achievements that mean the most to them. Good advice, but often hard to follow.
Most of us only see a fraction of the world, and a limited view of potential opportunities for languages, projects, positions, and skills. We often do look at others’ accomplishments and then try to model ourselves in some way to be like others. Not completely but we may choose to learn a skill another has, or pass a test that someone else completed, or maybe go work for the company that a colleague has enjoyed. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Think about what others do and decide what aspects of that you’d like to adopt. As much as I’ve coached others to think for themselves, make their own decisions, and be proud of the things they accomplish, I also want them striving forward. That often requires a goal and an ideal, which we often find in others we admire. Compare yourself to others, but don’t judge yourself by their standards. Decide on your own if you’re living up to the measurements that make sense to you.