Early career choices

If you are at the beginning of your career as software engineer you surely have lots of questions and uncertainties about what should you choose along the way and what you should decline when you receive one or more opportunities. Ultimately this is a business trade that requires the skills of balancing between what you have to offer and what do you want in return.

But who owns from the very beginning the knowledge of what can they really offer and the value of it? There are people who rather benefit from a series of circumstances in the pattern right person-in the right place-at the right time. Like they get to work in company that matches really good with their profile, in a team of members with whom connects interpersonally really well, in a project that matches their technical skills. That’s what I call fortune. Usually people gets one, two or none of those matches in the early career.

First job

So let’s assume you’re interested in finding a job that matches somehow your profile. I mentioned above about some skills of balancing what you have to offer with what you can get for it. You want to apply for a job or you got an offer that might become your first job. You have no idea whether it fits for you or it is what you want. Think of something you want to do or you want from this job and try to get that. Ask for advices from more experienced people that you trust. You probably won’t get it, but you’re exercising the approach you need to get used to when you are searching for jobs.

You got hired, you spent some time at this job and, for some reason, the questions are starting to come back. Maybe because you’re just thinking about the future and want to secure things that you didn’t think of before or you have a reason to reevaluate your match with your role. It’s probably time to get a better sense of what do you want so you can find out if your questions are coming back because you’ve grown in skills and you need more difficult responsibilities, or on the contrary, you’re not performing very well, you feel that and you are not happy about it. Either way, if you conclude that you need a change, a good choice might be to ask for feedback from your manager. If it’s not comfortable for you to do that yet, find out what change you want and take initiative for a discussion. If you made a “life purpose” by not taking discussion initiative, you should probably go for the change.

Don’t stay insecure

What’s not recommended to do is stay in the insecure area of questioning your place or purpose at that workplace. It can affect your ability to connect to your team in order to fulfill the tasks you’re responsible for. Either by not reaching company’s expectations or the opposite, fulfilling them with a boring efficiency.

Choose wisely

Going back to the questions that started to pop again, there’s another situation where you know exactly what is going wrong. Moreover, you know what kind of change you need to do, but… you can’t do it for the moment. It’s a complicated situation where you have to work greatly on your motivation in order to keep the connection with the team at least as much as you need it to fulfill your tasks. Yes, and you’re not doing this for the benefit of anybody except yourself.

Besides the skills of getting the right job for you as I talked about early in the article, there’s the growth dynamics Different companies environments support different growth rythms. Also, different people are capable of different growth speeds. When the environment/individual growth capacity rate gets unbalanced, the lack of adjustment brings frustration with it. Knowing about your growth rythm can help you make the changes necessary to making it fulfilling for you. And doing this over and over again gives you more control over your career.

I mentioned at the beginning of the article about the fortunate people of “the right person at the right time in the right place”. If you are one for a long time, be careful, the success coming unexpectedly without knowing why can lead to a great – unexpected – fall also without knowing why. Enjoy your success but do not consider yourself untouchable.

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