Are You Staying Current?

We at iTech are asking our customers if they are ready to receive the next set of PTFs or upgrade their OS to something newer. As Pete showed in a recent presentation, there are benefits to the processing you’re responsible for by doing these updates. Anyone who has worked on almost any platform has had to apply one patch that fixed that one annoying issue that you can finally cross off your daily list.

But what about you and your career? Our worlds are busier than ever with so many demands; are you taking the time to improve your personal situation in one small way?

For me, one thing that has added to my success over my career has been the incorporation of “update time” for me. I am not writing this to get into the motivational speaker circuit or to increase the number of people who are using our iTech website. Below are just some of the things I do or have done that equated to improved work experience that also improved my skills to improve my career. None of these are perfect but neither are our worlds. Mostly this is not things you have not heard about, but hopefully, these items serve you as a gentle reminder they are meant to be. Many can be accomplished by blocking off just one hour a week.

Cross-training

In larger shops, there tend to be people specializing in certain subjects. Then those people are always the go-to for those same issues. Hopefully, your management will recognize these bottlenecks in your organization and approve scheduled cross-training meetings. I was put in charge of working within my group and/or bringing in someone from another group to review a skill monthly. This was so successful in reducing the need to call people when they were out. And because not everyone likes presenting, this was accomplished with both casual screen sharing by the SME to the very formal presentations.

If approved, inevitability, the presenter might not be able to make the assigned date. What a terrific opportunity to go to your favorite vendor’s website and play a relevant video or two 😊.

Networking/Collaboration

I have been fortunate on more than one occasion to find a coworker who was already expanding their skills but wanted to work with someone. We did some checking and there were 2 or 3 of us who were interested in the same subject. We organized meetings for off hours and with management approval, took advantage of our office’s facilities like conference rooms, whiteboards, video screens, etc. to enhance the experience. If remote, the same can be done by utilizing the company’s web meeting software. Like cross training, you could also use this as an opportunity to ask someone to teach you something in exchange for you teaching them something. I know I have benefitted multiple times from training someone else on a subject.

Webinars

Many of us get invites to webinars. And not every presenter has a website where they are all saved. Take a few minutes to review the invitation and if it is being recorded, register and block time in your calendar to watch it later at a more convenient time. This gives you the advantage of watching at your own pace. If the content was a bit of a new concept to understand, rewind it. If it is someone rehashing something you have seen too many times, fast forward to what is relevant to you. If they also have a slide deck, scan them, to eliminate watching the video or focusing on the video when they get to that slide of interest.

 

User Groups

If you have not already created one of your own referencing the collaboration/networking, there are many User Groups to pick from. Take some time to review a list and find one that works best for you. Some do not require a pay registration unless you attend a presentation. One or two hours a month attending a great presentation could be just what you need.

These have been just a small list of suggestions. There are many other ideas and opportunities that are also worth exploring. I am hoping this reminds you with your busy schedule that there are things you can do as short as an hour a week to keep you current.

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