This past week I was visiting with an old colleague who was contemplating a career change. He was especially interested in a particular opportunity that had arisen, but didn’t feel he had the right qualifications. So I told him a favorite story of mine about one of our top guys at Greenopolis who took it upon himself to find out how much in the way of recyclables was being disposed of in bus-stop trash cans. Unable to come up with any data on the subject, he went out one night and personally sifted and sorted through the trash cans at a total of 51 bus stops. As a result, he became an instant expert in on-the-go recycling, always able to cite what he had learned from his night of rummaging through the trash deposited by people awaiting public transportation. Never one to throw away an opportunity, he had actually discovered a new one in things that had already been thrown away – literally by taking matters into his own hands.
The point I was making to my friend is is that we all have the opportunity to develop expertise in one or more disciplines, provided that we’re ready and willing to find out what we need to know first-hand. So what I advised him to do was to become an “instant expert” in one aspect of the industry or category involved and proceed to develop his knowledge base from there.
In today’s world, there are many fields of endeavor or areas of proficiency one can master in a relatively short time without having to earn a degree or be given an official stamp of approval. Once you’ve made yourself knowledgeable in a particular specialty, you can chart your own course, create your own niche, coin your own self-proclaimed title and start blogging about your experience in or understanding of the field. But my recommendation is that every week you do something new to build on your unique brand of “down and dirty” expertise.
With the kinds of resources now available, you can give yourself a professional ‘makeover’ and acquire genuine new skill sets faster than you ever thought possible. Just make up your mind to do whatever it takes to acquire the necessary information – even if it means having to literally take matters into your own hands on occasion (and perhaps get them a little dirty in the process).