Every job has its pluses and minuses. Consider dentists: great work environment, good pay and definitely needed. However, does anyone really appreciate their dentist? Same deal for doctors—and KM professionals. How does one stay excited about one’s career?
Over the years, a few colleagues in the KM profession, as well as in other fields, have shared examples of how they stay on their “A” game.
1) Work for people who value you and what you do.
There is no point in working for an organization or a manager who doesn’t appreciate what you do, for two important reasons: first and foremost, you’ll begin to question your own worth. If you don’t believe in yourself, you simply can’t do good work. Second, you will likely be underpaid and have limited opportunities for career growth. Wow, that’s bleak. Time to move on.
2) Stay passionate.
When you entered the profession, either by intent or by default, you did so because it called to you. There was something about the field that powerfully attracted you. Rediscover the things you value and enjoy about being a KM professional—and make a concerted effort to rekindle and feed the fire.
Avoid people who are negative about your profession. It’s pretty hard to be positive if everyone around you isn’t. Find other KM practitioners who are excited about what they are doing. They are out there, and you are a researcher. You can do this.
3) Invest in yourself.
The rate of change in the KM sector is extremely rapid. Sources of content and the tools to manage them are continually evolving. At first, it may feel like drinking from a fire hose, but you’ll get used it.
Continue to develop your credentials. KM, like everything else, is not just about the daily work. It involves people and projects. Courses in change management, HR, project management, and marketing or sales are all applicable to the challenges a KM professional faces. Happily, becoming conversant with all of them appeals to the unique multi- and inter-disciplinary orientation that is part of any knowledge specialist’s DNA.
4) Seek opportunities to use your skills.
Always be on the lookout for projects, people and organizations that can benefit from your talents. Make a point of proactively seeking out these situations. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and good old fashioned email can open a lot of doors.
Knowledge management is an esoteric skillset. Few people even know that there are professionals like us who can help them. You’ve got to offer them a hand and show them how things can improve. Otherwise they will blithely continue their unproductive and uninformed ways!
The fact that everyone is already drowning in information is exactly why you need to communicate your capabilities and contributions to the world around you. You don’t need to be aggressive; just let people know, in the nicest way possible, about the great things you’ve done, can do and want to do next.
It’s inspiring to others if you speak passionately about a really cool project you’ve completed. Find a forum for getting the word out that matches your personal style, even if what that means is offering to help someone with a one-off problem or project. Word will soon get around that you can solve people’s knowledge management challenges—and nobody will question your value, not even you!
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