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Time for Your Career

By Steve Jones,

When I was at SQL Saturday #131 recently, I attended Will Sisney's (@HanSQL | blog) talk titled "6 Steps to a Stellar Performance Review". It was a very interesting session and I agree with most of the advice that Will presented. A lot of it feels like common sense, much like my Branding presentation, but it's helpful to have someone talk you through the ideas and get you organized. I'd recommend you attend this session if you get the chance to do so and vote for it if Will submits for the PASS Summit.

However there was one thing in the session that struck me. One of the steps is for you to take control of your own training and make an active effort to learn more about your craft, tracking your time and efforts to present to your boss. Will says that he spends an hour a day on professional development, which sounds like a lot at first glance, but it's only 12.5% more than a 40 hour work week.

Who works 40 hours in this business? Lots of people, though I'm not sure it's the majority. However I do know that there are people that don't focus and work just on their projects for that 40-50 hours they spend at the office, so an hour a day isn't unreasonable. I've had more than a few bosses that were willing to give me 2-4 hours a week to spend on learning something, if I could show them it was time well spent.

How much time could you spend on professional development every week?

I am asking what you could realistically fit into your schedule now, without large sacrifices by your family or the rest of your life. Could you spare an hour a week? Two? Five? Andy Warren talks about needing 100 hours to learn a new skill and feel comfortable with it. You won't be an expert, but you would be able to work with the technology and have an idea on how to learn more. Four hours a week would get you 100 hours this year. Could you spare that?

Steve Jones


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