Rants, rambles, news and notes from another geek

Career Calculus

I’ve seen this sentiment echoed a number of times lately. Dave and Andy (The Pragmatic Programmers) put up a slide deck called How To Keep Your Job that I liked a lot. Then Doug Reilly posted Who is Responsible for Your Career.

Now we have Eric Sink’s post├é titled Career Calculus. I like his abstraction quite a bit. Eric breaks it down into a simple linear equation:

C = G + LT

C is Cluefulness. It is defined as an overall measure of your capabilities, expertise, wisdom and knowledge in the field of software development. It is the measure of how valuable you are to an employer. It is the measure of how successful your career is. When you graph your career, C is on the vertical axis.

G is Gifting.├é It is defined as the amount of natural cluefulness you were given “at the factory”.├é ├é For├é each individual, G├é is a constant,├é but it definitely├é varies from person to person.

L is Learning. It is defined as the rate at which you gain (or lose) cluefulness over time.

T is Time. It is on the horizontal axis of your career graph.

Now even though it is very clear to anyone who reads this that the only way to increase your Cluefulness is by constant learning, there will still be plenty of people who don’t bother.

You see, I don’t think this has anything to do with the computer or technology business. This simple little equation applies to almost everything you do in life. Want to increase your cluefulness about motorcycles? Read a book. Follow a mechanic around. Some people are born with a natural abillity (G above) but beyond that, you have to put effort into learning.

Eric closes with the statement, “Don’t work for a manager who is actively hindering your practice of constant learning. Just don’t do it.

I couldn’t agree more. But then I’m also a person who wouldn’t work in a job I don’t like for a million bucks. Some people don’t have enough self confidence to approach the world that way. These people also don’t think they can learn new things. They don’t think of a job interview as YOU interviewing THEM. They are afraid to try new things. They take shortcuts. They are lazy, but not lazy enough. They are doomed.