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5 career tips worth sharing

Kia ora koutou ITP Members and Supporters. 

It's taken me all day to decide what to write about in my second post. Feeling spoilt for choice I started shaping up blogs on topics like upskilling and reskilling, labour market pressures, what's in a name - IT/ICT/Digital Technology, mental health and wellbeing, when will our industry embrace the gig economy, return to the office tension, the digital technology landscape in Aotearoa and many more. 

You can look forward to insights on these in the weeks to come, I am even considering incorporating video logs and short interviews with fabulous industry folks as well so watch this space. 

5 Career tips worth sharing

Instead today I decided to share some great career advice that has really come in handy for me this last week or so. Hopefully you will find something here useful no matter your role or stage in your career. 

1. Listen, observe and ask questions

Be a sponge, listen and learn, your new workplace will likely have it's own language, acronyms, ways of doing things around here - if you don't know, ask, don't assume. 

Take time to understand the organisation and the social context of your team. Now is the time for you to listen, respecting the team you are joining has forged the way before you came along, there will be plenty of time for you to offer advice on improvements later, once you have formed an understanding. 

Vic's Tip - framing questions in terms of "I'm new around here, can you explain what you mean by that" or "this might sound like a dumb question but….." reminds everyone you need context and clarification. 

2. Be grateful 

Like in life, recognising the effort of others, how they have shared or assisted you, their role in your success no matter how tiny, goes an incredibly long way towards forming enduring, positive relationships. 

When you are new to a role your time listening and asking questions is taking time away from the day jobs of others - remember to be grateful for their time, acknowledge the wisdom and insight they are sharing with you.

Being grateful is just good practice. I am in awe of most people, what they do and have achieved so anyone who wants to share their insights deserves my gratitude.  

Vic's Tip - saying ngā mihi or thank you must be a genuine interaction, don't insult your colleague or be disingenuous. Be specific about what you are thankful for. Be genuine. 

3. Don't blame the last guy!

Last week we had an online farewell for Paul Matthews, a lovely cohort of people Paul has positively impacted through the years gave lovely messages of support for his contribution and wished him success in the future. 

Farewell Background 2.jpg 

I was once told by a manager, his key to success in a new role was to blame the last guy. In my experience this might work once but ethically it doesn't sit well for me - my personal mantra is to own it, the good and the bad.  

Vic's Tip - blaming others achieves nothing in the scheme of things. Find the solution not the culprit is another great piece of advice I was once given, everyone makes mistakes - even you will.  

4. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate

Sometimes expressed as there is no "I" in team, or don't be a lone wolf, or we can do more together. 

Collaborating means you can solve challenges, learn from each other, foster teamwork, discover new opportunities. 

Try understanding your team as the sum of their parts, or strands of harakeke woven into a kete, and understand where your strengths support the strength of this team. Collaborating and leveraging each other will lead to amazing outcomes. 

Vic's Tip - creating a collaborative workplace takes time and commitment, look for opportunities to connect with others. These could be to review your work, brainstorm an idea or develop a solution. Once other people see how successful a collaborative style of working can be they will want to join in. 

5. Learn to become self aware

Everything we do has an impact on others, sometimes it's tiny and not obvious, other times it can be quite significant. We are often asked to bring our authentic selves to work but this requires self awareness. Explore and understand your own values, motivations and drivers.  

Pay attention to what's going on around you. Try to read the impact you are having when speaking or acting. Equally pay attention to what others do that bothers you. Try to discover your blind spots and find people in your team who naturally cover them, keep these people close (believe me they are gold). 

Vic's Tip - learn what pushes your buttons, what is your kryptonite so to speak. If you do react in the moment make the time to review what happened later when you feel calm and think about what you could have done differently. For me it's narcissists. 

Too much advice? 

I've been given other advice over the years of course - "friendly not friends", be organised, look after yourself, always take a lunch break, write everything down, never give up, focus on the outcomes - some has it's place at different times, the rest can be ignored.

I guess that's one of our greatest challenges in life, how to parse all of the advice we are given and select what is right for us to act on!

Kia pai to rā Vic 



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