Saturday, August 11, 2012

Change - Risk - Opportunity - Permanent Beta - Startup of You

I have been through many job changes during my profession as a business analyst over the past 15 years. In attempting to build my career and continuing to thrive in a constantly changing career marketplace, I have often reflected on what are considered essential steps that must be taken to continue building future career opportunities. Reading "The Start-Up of You" by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha, really helped me reflect on why many of us (including me) are continuing to face an ever changing career marketplace and how we can position ourselves to manage our career. 

In the past 15-20 years, a dramatic change has taken place in the corporate world where the traditional career ladder has been drastically altered. With globalization and demographic influences, your career is no longer just looking for the next step in the corporate ladder. You must be able to understand this new career environment in order to continue moving into a fulfilling career. As the "The Start-Up of You" notes:
- "We are all works in progress"
- "We call this mind- set 'permanent beta'" (You are constantly reviewing your current skills and opportunities and iterating to the next version of yourself)
- "Each day presents an opportunity to learn more, do more, be more, grow more in our lives and careers. Keeping your career in permanent beta forces you to acknowledge that you have bugs, that there's new development to do on yourself, that you will need to adapt and evolve."

We are in times of uncertainty, and only when you take every opportunity to help others and yourself, then and only then, will opportunity tap you on the shoulder. 

Five years ago, I was working in a large corporation, hoping that the massive layoff wave surfacing in the company would not find me, but it did. In reflection, I realized that I was hiding from my own ability to pivot to new opportunities. I was stuck until the layoff wave wiped me out. After surfacing, I took steps every day to move towards break-out opportunities:

- I joined Toastmasters and learned how to confidently present in front of others (prior to that I avoided presentations which was a detriment to career visibility)
- I joined IIBA (International Institute of Business Analyst) and from the confidence I gained in Toastmasters, I was able to step into the Chapter President role of the Austin IIBA Chapter (again in the past I would join groups but never step into leadership - confidence from Toastmasters lead to confidence in leading a group.)
- I have helped Austin IIBA Chapter to put together a professional development conference and that will bring together peers in the business analyst community to meet and help one another.

Tomorrow, when you wake up, will you reflect and understand what you have to take to improve? to help others? to begin making changes that influence a community through leadership? I have started my Start-Up. Will you?


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