Exploring Your Professional Purpose

Navigating your purpose in the workplace can be complicated, especially when incorporating new technology into your job. While technology allows you to make a greater impact in your career, you should consider your purpose alongside everything you do.

So how do you diversify your skillset and maintain your passion for your job?

Here are some pointers

Acquire technical skills to create a pivotal point in your career. Using those skills, you can help streamline workflows and create more efficient processes within your current workplace or apply self-taught skills to another position.

Find a niche need that could benefit a broad range of people in your career field and act on it. Even if it’s not in your job description, gain an extra skill that could lead to long-term career advantages.

Turn turbulence into an advantage. It’s okay to consider how you can benefit from a change to move forward in your career. You have no control over organizational changes, and sometimes it isn’t feasible to communicate how much you’ve learned to your manager. Regardless of the changes around you, you should constantly be improving and helping people.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the initial learning curve, and make sure to look things up and ask for help. Jennifer Del Toro, who works as an Intelligence Analyst at the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, had a specialist in her agency who was excited to help her learn technical skills; she did a lot of web searching as well. “Patience is key,” she explained. Willingness to learn can also drive effective mentorship.

Learn to invest in yourself and advocate on your behalf. “You are the only person who’s going to fight for you, so go do it and fight for yourself,” Del Toro said. “Do so in a respectful way and reach out to mentors with specific goals.”

Stay up to date on the latest technological advances so you don’t fall behind. You have to go out and do this on your own because often your workplace may be unaware of these changes.

Balance your position with your personal and professional goals by communicating effectively with your supervisor. Driving a new change can take time out of your day, and you don’t want your work performance to suffer unnecessarily.

Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone, intellectually or even geographically. It can be hard at first to determine when you might want to make a change and when you might not, but the experience will help you grow. Think ahead five years, ten years, down the road, and try something new.

A version of this post was first published January 31, 2019.

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