Throughout my tenure working in technology, I’ve navigated my career decisions by regularly doing a pulse check with three questions: Am I contributing? Am I learning? Am I having fun? These three factors go together for me to be satisfied in my day-to-day.
If there is a “No” in any of these answers, it’s time to review my situation and make an effort to re-evaluate and invest in myself.
1. Am I contributing?
Contributing to the conversation and the delivery of products is a big part of what keeps me engaged every day. If I’m not, I look at all the various factors: the role I’m in, new knowledge I need to acquire, the team and leadership in place, the company direction and especially the products I get to impact. Understanding the reasons I may not be contributing more helps me maintain a positive outlook, which usually opens more opportunities. The key is to not dwell on your challenges, but keep moving forward.
2. Am I learning?
Learning can take on many forms throughout your career. I learn a lot from identifying problems or opportunity areas and talking with the people involved to understand how things can improve. This is also a good way to open new doors within your company or discover a new path for your career. Additionally, I keep a daily pulse on industry trends and connect the dots in my own role and product areas. This is a good investment for your existing job and your future career path. Not to mention a good mental exercise every day to push yourself.
3. Am I having fun?
Part of the fun of working in technology is the speed of change. You must love change to have fun in the tech industry. Being willing to take risks and quickly pivot is thrilling. I thrive in an environment that evolves and is never stagnant. Mix that with delivering useful and great products, company culture, and people and I’m hooked!
Kelly Schmidt, Senior Director, Platform Product Management, Getty Images, [email protected]