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UNDERSTANDING YOUR CRAFT

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 25, 2013

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– What is necessary to become a professional in your chosen field.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I recently gave a talk to the local “Future Business Leaders of America,” a county-wide group aimed at preparing young people for the business world. Consequently, my talk was based on my book, “Morphing Into the Real World: The Handbook for entering the Work Force.” Although there were some younger students in attendance, the majority included High School Juniors and Seniors. Basically, I gave them a “fire and brimstone” talk on what to expect when they entered the workforce, both good and bad.

I didn’t pull any punches. We discussed the perils of micromanagement, adapting to the corporate culture, the need for corporate ethics, loyalty, teamwork, and much more. I also painted a picture of a highly competitive work place where workers need to stay on their toes at all times, and not go on automatic. This frank approach seemed to be appreciated and kept their attention.

Something I kept harping on was the need for developing a professional attitude. This is particularly needed so workers do not become complacent, and give them an edge in improving their career. Developing such an attitude, requires more than just becoming proficient in a new skill set, although it certainly wouldn’t hurt, but it requires understanding decorum, learning etiquette, and continuing education in their chosen field.

Graduating from school doesn’t mean you arrest the need to learn. In fact, formal education is intended to train your mind to learn. As such, your real education begins following the conclusion of school. In my presentation, I admonished the students to learn the history of their chosen field, so they have an understanding of how and why it evolved, and so they do not make the same mistakes their predecessors did.

To illustrate, I asked for a show of hands of the students interested in pursuing a career in computing. Six hands shot up. I then openly tested their knowledge by asking, “What is a 4GL (fourth generation language)?” I was answered by blank stares. They knew about HTML, and some coding, but were not intimate with programming. I proceeded to explain the differences between 1GL (machine language), 2GL (assembly language), 3GL (procedural languages such as COBOL), and 4GL (interpreters). Next, I asked if anyone knew the difference between the various DBMS models, e.g., Hierarchical, Network (CODASYL), Relational, and Object Oriented. Again, blank stares. I said, “It’s not important you know this yet, but I want to challenge you to understand the nature of the industry you are embarking on, whether it is computing or some other field. Thereby, you won’t make the same mistakes your elders made.”

As an aside, a few years ago I wrote, “A Short History of Systems Development”, which discusses these items.

Becoming a true professional in any field requires more than just a good set of clothes, it requires a sincere effort to improve one’s self, both physically and intellectually. It means you are ready to put your school days behind you, act more responsibly, and develop an intellectual curiosity. It’s call “maturity.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  A THANKSGIVING MOMENT – A simple grace.

LAST TIME:  THE JFK ASSASSINATION: AN EPOCH EVENT – Where were you in 1963?

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3 Responses to “UNDERSTANDING YOUR CRAFT”

  1. Tim Bryce said

    An A.W. of Macon, Georgia wrote…

    “There is a deeper understanding that should be taught too, Longfellow immortalized it here:

    The Builders: All are architects of Fate, Working in these walls of Time; Some with massive deeds and great, Some with ornaments of rhyme.

    Nothing useless is, or low; Each thing in its place is best; And what seems but idle show Strengthens and supports the rest.

    For the structure that we raise, Time is with materials filled; Our to-days and yesterdays Are the blocks with which we build.

    Truly shape and fashion these; Leave no yawning gaps between; Think not, because no man sees, Such things will remain unseen.

    In the elder days of Art, Builders wrought with greatest care Each minute and unseen part; For the Gods see everywhere.

    Let us do our work as well, Both the unseen and the seen; Make the house, where Gods may dwell, Beautiful, entire, and clean.

    Else our lives are incomplete, Standing in these walls of Time, Broken stairways, where the feet Stumble as they seek to climb.

    Build to-day, then, strong and sure, With a firm and ample base; And ascending and secure Shall to-morrow find its place.

    Thus alone can we attain To those turrets, where the eye Sees the world as one vast plain, And one boundless reach of sky. Henry W. Longfellow”

    Like

  2. Francis Dryden said

    Hi Tim,
    I have a description of Professional that a lot of wannabe’s don’t really appreciate… A Professional gets paid regardless of outcome. Have a professional way about you but never consider yourself a professional unless you really want to be an underachiever and overpaid for not completing your task.

    Like

  3. […] UNDERSTANDING YOUR CRAFT […]

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