Whenever you start investing in growing your career you might decide to do things like:
- Building side-projects
- Getting involved at user groups and meetups
Should you expect to have instantly visible results of how your reputation and career are growing in big ways?
I love to use the analogy of a garden when thinking about growing your career.
One aspect of this analogy I think is so true is the idea that, for many types of seeds, you have to wait for weeks or even months before seeing any results.
There are plants that really only begin to grow in a tangible way near the end of its entire growth cycle!
The same is true about our careers.
The start is seemingly slow.
But things begin to happen quickly after you've built momentum!
The analogy often used to make this point is compound interest. With compound interest, your investment into the bank starts as a small amount of cash growing really slow. But as more time passes, the faster and more accelerated your cash will start to grow.
There's a certain momentum that begins to pick-up after time has passed.
Just like growing plants involves allowing the seed to soak up as much water and nutrients as needed at the beginning, growing your career takes some up-front investment and patience.
Yes, it does take hard work. But expecting that working hard will produce huge gains in a short amount of time is not how things work.
Building your career is a long-term game. It's like investing and waiting for that compound interest to work its magic.
The first steps in growing your career are more about building momentum than building tangible results.
My experience has been exactly this.
About 2 or so years into my career I realized that just "doing my job" wasn't going to open opportunities for me. It wasn't going to differentiate me from everyone else who wanted to land awesome jobs and opportunities.
So, I started to make a plan and began learning very targeted topics.
In 2017, I started blogging. But I didn't blog that much.
With a family to take care of and a full-time job, I don't have as much free-time as most people.
Slowly though, I tried to promote my content on other publications.
I spoke at a user group.
One thing at a time.
About a year into it, I was given over $2000 worth of software for stuff that I blogged about.
Then, I started an open source project that ended-up gaining some traction.
Through this, I ended up being asked to write guest posts on https://builtwithdot.net.
A few months ago, I started using Twitter as a platform to help developers with tips, test ideas I had, etc.
This snowballed into more recent opportunities like:
- Guest posting for other publications like App Academy
- Featured guest on the Developing Up Podcast discussing career ownership
- Featured guest on Steve Smith's Weekly Dev Tips Podcast about accelerating your career
- Giving a webinar for Lamba School
- And more stuff I can't even talk about yet!
In my case, I feel like that momentum is starting to catch up.
But there was a long period of waiting and "just showing up".
Just show up.
If you are committed to making content for your blog, then just keep doing it.
You don't need to blog every single day or even every single week. I didn't.
Just keep pushing forward as you are able.
Take any opportunities that come your way.
Network and reach out to those you respect.
Try testing ideas on Twitter (or anywhere else) to see what people think.
Write content that you are passionate about!
But do understand the principle of compounding. It usually takes years to see the fruits of your labour in tangible ways.
Remember above all else that you are planting seeds.
Eventually, you'll see the plants beginning to sprout!
Have you experienced this feeling, like nothing is happening in your career?
Then at some point, things seemed to take-off?
Was it because of a specific event that seemed to launch things? Or was it more like just a stream of opportunities that started coming in?
Let us know in the comments so everyone can learn!
Don't forget to connect with me on:
You can also find me at my web site www.jamesmichaelhickey.com.
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