If you lack this trait you will fail in your career

Your vehicle of leadership is fueled by your willingness to learn. You can’t lead if you can’t learn! – Israelmore Ayivor

I’ve seen a sad occurrence in my professional career, one that seemed to repeat itself. At first it was a little hard to spot but afterwards I just couldn’t help myself noticing it more often.

Being a programmer is a lonely endeavor, it is a profession that molds or breaks you based on your own discipline and commitment. Much like book authors, a programmer is all alone in his tasks. It’s true you can ask for help, and you can seek guidance and inspiration in others, but more often than not you are all alone when dealing with a challenge. 

However this has the inadvertent effect of forcing programmers to learn more. New challenge overcome, new achievement unlocked. The more complex and varied our work is the more we are forced to exit our comfort zone and pick up new skills, read up new techniques and try out new tools.

But more often than not I’ve seen such hard learning and open minded individuals get promoted to a managerial role, and as time passed I saw the dwindling or down right death of this pursuit of knowledge. 

It’s funny how a professional who’s whole career has been built on learning new things every week and sometimes every day could get promoted and forget about how important learning is.

It’s as if this new position somehow entitles them to be “lazy” or at least lazier. 

Now I am not bashing programmers, it just so happen that their field is the one I am most familiar with, but I have witnessed the same behavior in former colleagues who are judges now. As soon as they got the “mantle” of judge, as soon have the breaks been put on learning new stuff. 

And I’ve seen the same behavior with dentists, lawyers, accountants etc.

And it’s crazy. Learning isn’t punishment. Learning isn’t a chore. Learning is a part of life.

You learn new things each and every day. Granted, the level of commitment and self interest you have in the process raises up those daily findings from minuscule at best, to great and overpowering. 

It is one of the most quintessential traits we have as human beings. The ability and willingness to share knowledge and learn on a steady and constructive basis is our most powerful weapon and the only salvation we have if we are to flourish on this beautiful planet of ours.

So take some time to consolidate what you know, make a note of what you think you are lacking and start doing some light research. Test some ideas and start learning to improve your weak spots. One day soon enough you will find yourself teaching what you know to the fellow next to you. You’ll do fine.  


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