Career Things Worth Thinking About in 2015

Oh my gosh. It’s almost 2015! How did that happen?!

Other than working to deadline and wondering if it’s too late to send parcels, here are some things I’m thinking about for my work life and the new year.

If you build it, they may not come.

Our love affair with technology has taken us down many strange and wonderful paths. Now that we know the paths and the possibilities, we need to stop and pay more attention to whether the path we’ve chosen is the right path for our customers. Time to stop and check whether your customers also desire the shiny, new toy that you want. If you build it, they had better want it.

Collaboration re- think.

Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate. Yup. Let’s all collaborate. Wait! The adoption and accompanying adoration of collaboration has often failed to consider personal style.

Did we stop to think about whether collaboration is a positive experience for all? Did we ask whether collaboration is ideal at all points of work? From the beginning to the middle to the end?

Consider the person who does some of their best work solo, and then builds on their success by collaborating for input and improvement. Rushing someone into collaboration from idea formation to refinement to delivery may not work. Not work for them, and possibly hurt your goal of building better ideas, solutions, strategies, services and even teams.

Pick your collaboration points – and pick them wisely. Don’t sacrifice outstanding solo work to collaboration. Instead, honour solo work and find the sweet spot for the collaboration points.

Seniors. They’re not who you think they are.

Sssssh. You may actually be in the same room as a senior citizen at this very moment. Depending on how your level of government defines a senior – it could be ages 55 and up, all the way to 65 and up. You may be working with seniors and goodness knows you probably have seniors in your family, in your neighbourhood and or even in your sports league.

Boomer seniors are active, educated and involved. Their retirement may not look like the retirement of yesteryear. Their need for services may look much different as well. Not the least of which is because of numbers. There’s a whole lot of seniors coming our way and we need to be able to meet their service needs.

We can do this by challenging our assumptions about seniors, about aging and about retirement. Let’s be responsive to current needs and not get stuck in what we think we know and relying on age related stereotypes.

Gov means never having to say, “I did not know that!”

With an aging population and an aging workforce, much has been said about knowledge transfer. That’s the problem. Much has been said, and little has been done.

Some of the workers who are headed for retirement are taking with them not only institutional knowledge, but also critical connections based on gentlemen’s agreements, or handshake promises. They may know about an agreement that doesn’t seem important now, but may seem very important next year, or next month. That’s when the other party comes a calling and you don’t know a thing about the agreement. Oops.

Now – not in five years – is the time to learn what we can from the grey wave. The way we do business may be more structured and well documented than ever, but it doesn’t change the fact that some of us are still dealing with the legacy of arrangements that were made informally over a cup of coffee. We need to know coffee culture details in order to maintain relationships, deliver services and prepare for the departure of so many colleagues.

How about a lunch and learn? How about a random question session? How about booking a ‘if I’d known then what I know now’ session with your senior colleague? Getting those gems of information could just make your year easier. Make it happen.

Wishing you and yours a safe and healthy and wise 2015.

Tracy McCabe is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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