Career-building: Distinguish yourself.

16 March 2006

I’ve been pleased by some of the private responses I’ve gotten from readers on my series of posts on job-hunting. I had a few more ideas for “rules” to follow, but I thought it would be better to talk more not about job-hunting per se, but about career-building in the long term. Yes, if you’re looking for a job right this moment, the long term may seem like a luxury you can ill afford. But the reality is that the long term is happening, piece by piece, right now; it’s just that the fruit is higher up on the tree of time.

So, while you’re doing the short-term, low-hanging-fruit things I suggested in my job-hunting posts, spare some thought for where you want to be in 18 months, five years, ten years.

Lately I’ve stumbled upon the work of Rajesh Setty, who’s given lots of thought to these questions. I first read his free e-book, “When you can’t earn an MBA . . .” This is germane to my own career because there’s a part of me that would like to earn an MBA–and the knowledge and benefits that come with it–but a much bigger part of me that’s actually engaged in earning a Ph.D. in history. I’ve found that one full-time graduate program at a time is enough!

Setty has also written more than a hundred mini-essays on “How to Distinguish Yourself” in the working world. They are collected in his Squidoo lens. The ones I’ve read so far do a good job of combining practical, what-do-I-do-now? advice with more abstract, where-am-I-headed? thinking. Good stuff and well worth reading if you’re not where you want to be in your career.

Setty posts his “How to Distinguish Yourself” entries & other thoughts at his “Life Beyond Code” blog.

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