I have read a few blog posts by my friends talking about how they planned their careers and chose what community activities to get into and what work to do involved in order to get into a dream job. Now I thought I’d share my experience, which is altogether different. My career is essentially a chaotic and random thing that progresses without much planning.
This is a random picture, linked to the photographer
The problem with a lot of planning and clear goals is that concentrating on those can prevent you seeing other opportunities. The biggest changes in my career have come about from chance conversations and being in the right place at the right time. Back in 1997 I became a Citrix specialist after helping troubleshoot an issue on one server. Being a Citrix specialist got me a much better contract rate when I relocated to England for a couple of years. While I was in England a chance conversation introduced me to VMware. A few years later when I was again self-employed a chance comment in a classroom lead me from being a student of VMware to being an Instructor. A series of other chance meetings have led to other changes: Meeting Cody Bunch at the CXI party in 2011 lead to me being part of vBrownBag. Meeting Stephen Foskett at the same VMworld lead to me being a Tech Field Day delegate. vBrownBag TechTalks came about after twitter grumblings about rejected VMworld sessions. Each instance was a random meeting or comment along with being open to opportunity.
For me having long term career goals just doesn’t work. Plans never seem to work out the way I thought but the results are always awesome in some form. Don’t take this to mean that you shouldn’t plan and that planning is a bad idea. Having goals and pathways to the goals is a great idea. I do always keep an eye on what is developing and invest in my own skills. Just keep yourself open to other things that crop up along the way. Career plans should not be cast in concrete, they should be flexible and must change as the world changes.
© 2014, Alastair. All rights reserved.