Mixing Field Experience With Domain Knowledge

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There is this common joke about a man who charged a company $10,000 to fix a technical issue they had. So after the deal was sealed and he came to fix the issue, one of the company managers walked him to where the faulty system (not a computer system, but those complicated interconnected production line system) was and watched him as he worked. The man examined the system and after about five minutes, he pushed one button in and told the manager that the problem is fixed. The manager was furious. He ran the system and true to what the man said, the issue is gone. But he was unhappy that the man charged them $10,000 for a five minutes, push one button job and told the man it should have been a $100 job. The man told him he is right, that pushing that button is $100 but knowing which button to push is $9,900.

As a lot of my training participants say: What you don't know you don't know.

image: tableslawgroup.com

When you mix a lot of field experience with excellent domain knowledge, your work becomes more like art. You make it look so easy people will wonder how you make a living do it. People still advise me to mix other stuffs with what I currently do. They just don't understand how one can live and hope to flourish on being just an Excel consultant. Unfortunately, it is now impossible to add anything to what I am doing. I am just too occupied that I can work 24x7 and not run out of job requests. I am now trying to let go of every social activities and non-core work activities I do. Or else I will keep disappointing people and not getting any major work done.

I am now convinced that one shouldn't change career dramatically too often. Grow in your chosen career field, also grow with the field, be abreast of the latest in the field, and mix it all with a lot of field work. Use every knowledge you acquire and put yourself out there. Don't be afraid to make mistakes as you convert your head knowledge to practical skills. That is what will set you apart as an expert; you would have made all the common mistakes and even the less common ones. You will always be right because you have been wrong many times before. 

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. You might not be seen as an expert when you make too many mistakes but you will never become an expert if you don't risk making mistakes. And with more practical efforts and mistakes, you get closer to being an expert than trying to acquire all the knowledge and having an error free analysis before trying out anything.

Be always willing to test drive your knowledge and never stop increasing your stock of knowledge in your chosen field.


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