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

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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 [email protected]

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.



Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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