The Millennials generation is known for being impatient and ambitious, looking for results in the short term. We are also increasingly encouraged and pressured by society, to reach top positions, to be recognized as successful. In this context, some questions arise, such as: How do I reach a top position? Where do I find these opportunities? Do I have the profile to perform these roles? Or even, do I want to reach a top position?
“The key to success is to take advantage of what we are good at and work every day to evolve and be better at what we do!”
Often and wrongly, professional success is directly linked to reaching executive management positions. But all professionals have different personalities, different motivations and tastes and, as such, not everyone can or wants to take managerial roles. Many professionals feel that they will only be successful if they reach a position as team leaders, or project managers and that this is the only way forward after 3 or 4 years of experience at an operational level. They feel blocked and pressured, because they don’t even want to assume a management role, but they feel that it is the necessary next step and the only direction to be successful.
It is important to keep in mind that for an organization, or a team, to perform well it needs to be comprised of different skills and heterogeneous competencies. We cannot all be managers; organizations need good leaders as much as people who execute well, plan, organize, people who have good analytical capacities, people who break the ice in stressful situations, people who question, among others. Nobody has all their skills developed, everyone has areas of expertise and areas where they are now so good at. The key to success is to take advantage of what we are good at and work every day to evolve and be better at what we do!
“When taking a management position due to external pressure and not internal motivation, passion and enthusiasm, the professional may be moving in the opposite direction of their satisfaction and professional success.”
A few years ago, when I was working as a recruiter, a programmer told me in an interview that what he liked best was doing corrective maintenance because he loved to search for mistakes and correct them. For many programmers, this is a tedious task, but it is also a task of extreme responsibility required in most projects. If a professional is very good at identifying and correcting errors, he can be a successful professional and contribute to the success of his team.
Throughout my professional career, I have come across several people who tell me that the next step in their career will be in project management, but when I ask them “is that what motivates you?”, the answer is no, but they don’t know another way. This is restricting our career development. Someone who is very fond of the technical parts of the job is not obliged to abandon what he likes to do to assume a managerial position when he does not even have much patience, talent or interest in dealing with conflicts and motivate teams. How can a team manager motivate his people, if he is not motivated himself? When taking a management position due to external pressure and not internal motivation, passion and enthusiasm, the professional may be moving in the opposite direction of their satisfaction and professional success. A programmer can be a programmer 10, 20 or 30 years if that’s what motivates him. Being a good professional depends solely on its attitude. It depends on whether he stays informed, look for innovation and cutting-edge technologies, seek ways to improve his efficiency, do his research and strive to be one step ahead on the technological field. This programmer may be a distinguished professional, as successful as a good project manager, helpdesk, a systems administrator, a functional analyst, or a CEO.
Career development is not a single lane with right and wrong exits. It is important to have a clear focus on what makes us feel accomplished and pursue that relentlessly. There is no success without effort, passion and dedication. I believe there are plenty of opportunities for us to be successful in the technological field, it only depends on ourselves.
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Mafalda is Affinity’s Learning & Career Manager. With a degree in Human Resources Management, Mafalda has been working in the IT sector since 2012 and spends all her free time enjoying some quality moments with her favourite beings: her family, friends and her little kitten Leo!