Marginalize through specialization

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It is that time of the year where most people work on their New Year’s resolution.   At the same time, people who work for companies also anticipate their performance review discussion to know how their managers think they do during the year.   This is a perfect time to review your three-year plan and assess how you’ve perform in the prior year.   What three year plan? Most people are so focused on getting their job done that they fail to plan for themselves.   In the absence of a plan, you are working on someone else’s plan.

While some people find their way in their career, at times in a roundabout way, it is best to have a plan. A plan that guides you and states what needs to be accomplished and when it needs to be done, the sequence, and has measurable action items to assess how you’re doing.   As you create your plan, what do you want to be in 5 years? Map out what is it you’re passionate about. What energizes you every day? Create a plan accompanied by a timeline that states when you need to do what.

Once a plan is created, you need to step back for a few days and let it sit for a couple of days. Why? To let yourself reassess whether what you wrote is indeed what you want.   This is important because it allows you to think through your dream and passion and how to best apply it. As you analyze your plan, check if you are focusing too much on a narrow segment of a particular field. Why is this important to assess your focus?   You could very well be moving yourself into a corner. The problem is you might be too specialized, which might pay dividends in the near term, but because it is too specialized, when the market trend changes, you might be left behind.   You can move yourself to the corner of specialization, but make sure you’re facing outside and observing what the next trend that you need to embrace is.

Specialization is a good thing, because companies pay top dollar for specialized skills, but over specialization without a plan can caused you to be out of date in a few years. It is imperative that you maintain your specialization while being on the lookout as to what is upcoming and determine the merit to upgrade your skills. I’ve worked with people who specialized and stayed with the same technology until one day that technology was no longer used, at which point they were not programed to learn and had a tough time learning new things.

If you don’t have a plan, create one today.   If you have a plan, review and update it. Make sure that you’re not over specializing to the point your skill will be obsolete. Remember that if you’re not learning and developing, you’re falling behind.   Unless you’re three to five years from retiring, you really need to brush up your skills.

Let me know what you think of my post. Share with your friends or let me know your thought. I can always learn from you. Have a great day!