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Career path in complex times

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

Exponential technologies are enabling change in the world at an accelerated speed. Consequently, in the past few years, there has been a clear increasing demand for experienced software developers worldwide who can set this new reality in motion. There are excellent job options for remote, local, or even relocation offers. Now more than ever, you as a software engineer can control and choose a suitable job that really excites and fulfill your professional and personal goals; the right company culture with a good manager, coworkers, and good chances to continue learning; and of course, an attractive payment that corresponds the value of your skills and mainly the contributions you can make.

In the same past years, the pandemic has enlightened us about the illusion of control and stability in different aspects of reality. Because of these reasons mentioned above, these are times when the responsibility of your career can not be delayed or put aside as something that will be developing haphazardly.

In my professional experience, I have known a lot of skilled professionals. Still, I have observed that some talented specialists work hard for years, focusing so much on the kind of jobs where they can put all their technical knowledge into practice and lose sight of where they want to go in the future. A reason this happens could be the profound interest and even enjoyment for developing technology. Still, they risk losing good opportunities because they don't recognize those within easy reach.

On the other hand, as human beings, we tend to avoid what causes physical or psychological pain, so going outside of our comfort/ knowledge zone isn't something easy to do. Even though you know you want to grow, you may feel stuck but also overwhelmed and afraid. Suppose you haven't clearly discovered where you want to go. In that case, you won't find any interest or motivation in doing things that don't attract you, such as learning another language, developing social skills, financial understanding, and of course, innovation and future technology. Probably you never considered before the possibility of being open to a job that requires relocation. But remember this: Bravery occurs when you are faced with fear, and you dare to advance to it. The truth is when you feel a bit nervous and uncomfortable, you're doing right and growing.

As Marshall Goldsmith suggests in his book: "What got you here won't get you there," you must discover that the knowledge skills and successes that bring you to this point of your career probably are very different from the ones you will need to advance. Complex times will require a constant shift in your mindset, focus for acquiring new abilities, and clear accountability for your career path. A future mindset will give you a bigger picture of how to learn to see opportunities in moments of uncertainty and yet capable of making future-oriented decisions.

Although you understand the importance of the previous points, this is not enough. There is a risk that you pass by this insight and stay precisely where you are now.

If you genuinely desire to make a change for the better, the difficult part could be to dig inside yourself to discover ¿Where do you want to go? And above all ¿Why do you want to go there?

Success takes many forms and looks different from person to person. Your why must be completely clear as it will propel you to action and motivate you enough to move forward despite feeling fear. Everything you have done in your entire life, you did it because you were inspired to do, and everything you haven't done in your life when you could have done it, you didn't do it because you are motivated to do something else. The power of your answer comes from a biological connection with those parts of the brain that control behavior, motivation, and decision-making. By "why," means: What's your purpose? What's your belief? As Simon Sinek says: "Our WHY is the thing we give to the world, and we must look inside ourselves to discover it."

The next phase should seem obvious: define a plan for your future, and identify the concrete steps you should take to produce more navigable outcomes in a world with uncertainty and ambiguity, either in your professional or personal lives. Then it would help if you shared your why and your plan with someone close to you; don't keep it a secret; open it to someone else as a form of commitment. A path of continuous advancement will never end; Work smarter, not harder, and be careful not to waste your life being constantly busy.

Having a Future Mindset will help you clarify where you want to go in the future and be flexible enough to adjust to situations of high uncertainty. Think about the implications of those changes rather than rushing in panic mode; you can re-focus on new windows of opportunities such events bring and how you can proactively redefine a new positive future within this unplanned circumstance. In the long run, you may be more successful with than without the crisis.

Although scientists will be talking about a future pandemic, no futurist could have predicted that now the world would be at war and imagine all the resulting implications all over the planet. The main advantages of taking the accountability needed to define your career path and push forward lay within practicing a new way of flexible thinking will be your best tools to become a changemaker and bring about positive global transformation while navigating through complex times.

Make the decision and don't look back. It's never too late.

Claudia Chávez


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