being the expert of becoming the expert (or not at all)

Read an article this morning, Ten Unmistakable Signs You’ve Stayed At Your Job Too Long, which I thought I would comment about on here for each bullet point, but then I decided that was pretty boring. However, a few points kept bouncing around in my head. They are:

1. As you look ahead at your projects over the next 12 months, you don’t see anything that you haven’t already done a million times before.

4. You know every procedure in your company. You know every piece of software. You know the purpose (and the time and location) of every standing meeting. You know so much that people constantly ask you for advice — but knowing as much as you do, you should have a lot more influence than you have.

5. Your muscles aren’t growing. You can’t even remember the last time you did something really cool at work or learned something powerful. At this point, you are just treading water.

Now, this can easily dive deep into a conversation about innovation and corporate tolerance to (minor) failure. But I wanted to put that aside since that is a topic that is beaten to death (even in my own head). Even talking about corporate culture is a bit out of my scope (though very relevant).

But my main interest was this question:

Do you want an employee (or to be an employee) who is best at what they do and already an expert in their daily tasks, or one who is driven to learn, but not yet necessarily the expert at their daily tasks?

I’ve posted the question elsewhere, and gotten good, thoughtful answers. In the end, I don’t think it terribly matters as long as I’m happy in my self and job and progress. Be good at what I learn, and have enough latitude to learn (which implies not necessarily being good yet), with small non-fatal stumbles, when the opportunity arises. It’s possible being an “expert” is the wrong frame of mind to have, like saying your idol for CEO is Steve Jobs, which just isn’t realistic and will ultimately be unrequited.

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