A few years ago, a colleague got an opportunity of working on his first design project, and was very enthusiastic about the work. At the same time, there was a very experienced person in the team, who lent his expertize and advice to this younger colleague. The younger design engineer resented what he saw as unwelcome intrusion into his sphere of work. He complained that he was not given a chance to learn. I worked with him to understand his frustrations and came to the realization that he did need help but was not very receptive to it. He seemed to realize it too but this was at the start of the hi-tech boom and he decided to pursue another opportunity and left the project midway.
Recently, when I met this
ex-colleague, he told me that
leaving the project mid-way had left a great void in his career, Though he is in an enviable position today, he regretted that the had a great opportunity to complete his learning much earlier.
The message is loud and clear: Don’t switch jobs even if it’s for career advancement, if a particular task is partially complete. Most of the time hard work gets repetitive and boring, and this is particularly true in the electronics or IT industry. However, the challenge is to overcome what seems mundane and work with dedication even during trying times.
One inspiring story for me is that of Ernest Henry Shackleton, the brave polar explorer. His miraculous survival for months on the ice-packed Antarctic made him synonymous with courage and endurance. The ship in which he and his crew were traveling was trapped and crushed by the sea ice, leaving them adrift on the ice floes. How Shackleton saved them and reached South Georgia is one of the epics in the history of survival and can be a brilliant lesson for techies who wish to excel in their career.
While being a leader, many a times you have to take some unpopular decisions, which you have to make others accept even if they don’t approve of it. Remember that a consensus on every decision taken is not feasible, but when you have faith in something, stick to it. Shackleton’s account is a poignant reminder of how perseverance, fortitude, and sometimes a little coldness pays off.
Another aspect techies need to remember is that nothing can be greater than constant learning. It’s an accepted fact that a fresh
graduate seems far more well versed with the latest technologies, than people who have been in the industry for some time. The results he or she delivers might be or seem much more productive than those delivered by someone with higher experience. Every day there is some significant advancement in technology and even the most experienced one has to keep abreast of it. An effortless way of being updated on the latest technologies could be attending company workshops that the most well known companies organize frequently. At the same time the younger techies could also learn from the fact that experience brings wisdom, and for a complete product the two can complement each other’s strengths.
It is crucial to be strong in your technical foundation. People who have reached the pinnacle in their careers have a firm technical base. Bill Gates is a well-known example but if you examine closely all great companies have had strong technical leaders.
Being complacent hinders progress and you tend to fall back in the race. Hence one needs to be self-motivated and constantly work towards his or her goal. That is the recipe of success!
The author is the Senior Product Manager, Analog Devices.