Career Talk by my manager

My manager had a talk about career this afternoon via MS Teams. I think it went pretty smoothly. There were minor hiccups like one or two members of the audience momentarily not being on mute, so we got to hear some chickens (or chicken–we’ll never know) and other background noises. There was also this slight flicker between the virtual whiteboard and the slide deck whenever he was drawing (or maybe it was just my connection).

During the talk, there were notes being shared via the meeting chat by Hana and Roman. So I got those notes (in italics) and thought of adding in some of my own. Nothing fancy, just stuff at the top of my head.


Two most important things to develop your career

  • Self-development
  • Leadership

I think prerequisites to self-development are humility and the capacity to learn. You have to have the right attitude towards learning. You also have to work on how you learn. Find what’s effective for you and maximize that; find what doesn’t work for you and improve on that. As for leadership, I think the prerequisite of that is self-management. Before you lead others, you have to develop discipline to lead yourself.


  1. Identify what you want
  2. Have a career discussion with your manager
  3. Be open to explore roles so you can “sharpen your saw”
  4. Law of the Lid: Increase your leadership value

Apart from what you want, you also have to weigh that against your interests and what you’re good at. It’s important to remain grounded.


A career is a journey. It’s not linear. Be open to learn from it. You cannot do it by yourself–be open to work with people.

Some folks got into IT thinking they’ll just have to work with computers. But working with people is inescapable. You have to work with them for getting the requirements, for finding out what their problems are, and then for coming up with solutions, for implementing the solution, for validating the solution, etc. You’re in the business of solving problems for someone. You’ll have to talk to that someone, or their representatives, or someone (or most likely a lot of other folks) who you’ll work with to solve those problems.


Leadership will unlock your potential.

Getting to a particlar [sic] career path is not a straight line. It will involve branching out and exploration.

Take advantage of the people network that you will build along your journey.

It’s give-and-take. Sometimes by first being of service to other people, you get returns. Sometimes. And if you don’t, it’s still a learning opportunity.


Expect learning through failure. Don’t be afraid to fail.

On the other hand, there is some danger in thinking it’s OK to fail. Particularly if you become too complacent about it. “Oh, I fouled up… Oh, well, it’s OK to fail anyways!” It’s the learning that happens in failure that has to be emphasized. There has to be some semblance of accountability that you avoid making the same mistake over and over again.


Roles are more important than the levels.

When you’re trying to get to the next level, it’s taking on the roles that you hold exceptionally well that helps you get to the next level.


Convergence on managerial and technical paths are more evident nowadays.

Passion: if you are passionate on something, you know that you will always do your best on that field.

Re: Basketball bit from Eric – notice the evolution of the game + roles: point guards were just expected to dribble and pass, centers just on the shaded lane… and players were designated playing positions based on height. Now, forwards can play point guard, centers are expected to shoot outside…

Somewhat related to this, I’m thinking of reading Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World? Anyone who has read it and would recommend it?


70-20-10 Model
10 = Training
20 = Relationship
70 = Experience

Don’t mistake “Training” to be limited to formal classroom training. It also includes the learning you can get from reading books or watching webinars or listening to podcasts, etc. It’s not just classroom training.


Your performance and value will decline overtime if we don’t continue to learn new things (Entropy).

It’s also a matter of translating what you learn to something relevant and helpful – be it by giving advice or guidance, providing inputs or ideas when asked, creating a POC, etc.


5 Levels of Leadership (John Maxwell)

  1. Role / Position
  2. Relationships
  3. Results
  4. People Development
  5. Respect

The five levels of leadership depicts why someone would follow a certain leader. The lowest level is the starting point, and I hope folks will have enough self-respect to try to rise above that. If it’s OK with you that people are compliant to you only out of the position you have over them, that also says a lot (or maybe the word is little) about you. Please try to prove your worth, try to be trusted.


Think Win-Win
How can we work together to make this “pizza” bigger?

Idk. I just want pizza now.


Integrity creates a condition of workability.
An essential quality in building your career.

I often say that work is hard enough as it is… without being compounded with lack of trust or integrity. Having integrity makes working with you easier for others. Makes working with yourself easier as well–like when you don’t have to jump through mental hurdles of having to remember what you said to whom that might be inconsistent with what you said to someone else.


You have to try first. Acknowledge if you can’t do it but find ways on what you need to do to achieve your goals.

Main Focus in Career Development

  • Self Development – find your passion, what makes you different, and how you can collaborate.
  • Leadership – Applies to all levels and roles. This will mamiximize [sic] your potential.

Sometimes it’s hard to know where your passion lies, or what’s your key differentiator, or what you want to do in life. There are some who are still finding themselves. And it’s OK not to know or be a hundred percent sure. Just keep trying to figure it out, one step at a time. As Picard said (and maybe this has gone off on a tangent), “One impossible thing at a time.”

One thought on “Career Talk by my manager

  1. Pingback: Testing Bits – Testing Bits – Mary 3rd – May 9th, 2020 | Testing Curator Blog

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