Since many of you always ask me about finding jobs, career changes and career advancement, I thought I’d take some time to share some of the things I do for my own future. Today we’ll talk about job shadowing.
When I was in high school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to get into, but I liked drawing. My parents, being “practical” didn’t think there was much future for me in being an artist, so the convinced me to consider being an architect. Close… right? Not even! LoL! Anyhow, one of the things my dad did for me was have me spend a day at an architecture firm. I quickly learned that day that being an architect wasn’t for me, but it was the shadowing I did that made me understand why it wasn’t for me.
Many people will jump from job-to-job for various reasons (as I’ve mentioned prior in previous blogs), but rarely fully informed about the move they are about to embark on. Most people think they know what they want, they think they know why they want it and they usually think they’re right. Having made many mistakes in my life, I know it’s important to do my homework when it comes to making life decisions. Mentors will help you a great deal and if your mentor is in the field that you think you want to get into; spend more time learning the role from them and ask if you can shadow them.
I recently spend a week in New York shadowing a Systems Engineer Manager and his team in the field. Because the field team differs greatly from a corporate team, I wanted to get the exposure into their day-to-day processes, customer interactions, workload, expectations, etc. I had been motivated to look into this role because my director often spoke about the field with such passion and I wanted to witness this firsthand. Initially, I wasn’t sure this would be the right role for me, but the time spent shadowing allowed me to make that decision and in the end I enjoyed the time spent learning the role.
Shadowing not only helps one understand the role, but also helps build relationships with others who may have influence over your future. If you’re on the fence about a role that you’re thinking about I highly recommend taking the time to inquire and shadow.
Have you done any job shadowing, job rotations or internships? Tell me your story and what you got out of it. How has that helped you with your career?