shutterstock_278492990Recently I was interviewed about what it means to me to be an Agile Careerist.

A friend I have come to know from the SOBCON events, Marti Konstant, asked me to talk with her for a book she is writing on being an Agile Careerist.

I’ve known Marti for a few years and I like the way she thinks and I was honored when she asked me to be interviewed. It took me a moment to consider the concept an an Agile Careerist.

Initially I thought … what does Agile mean? Then I thought what does Career mean? Then I put some time into putting those two terms together.

Being a technologist for all of my working years I’ve heard the term “agile” referred to primarily as a software development concept. I had not thought about agile in terms of a career. However, the more I thought about it I could see the parallels and came up with a few areas that I believe allow me to consider myself as an Agile Careerist.

Note: I do NOT ascribe to the traditional definition of a careerist. Rather … I think my career has aligned nicely with the concepts espoused by an agile philosophy.

Are you an Agile Careerist?

Do you want to be? Only you can decide that. Let’s first start with the definitions of Agile and my (modern) definition of Careerist … which I adapted from the agile definition.

  • AgileEvolves through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams and requires iterative efforts to achieve the right returns.
  • Careerist – Promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, continuous improvement, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change.

To me these two terms can be combined into the idea, ideal and concept of an Agile Careerist. To me it means that your career can grow, morph and change at the pace you are comfortable with and in a direction you choose.

Yes, there will be roadblocks and challenges … some put up by you and some by others and by circumstances beyond your control. In the end you get to decide what, where and how you will spend you energies to grow your career over the long run.

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.”
~ Henry Ford

Everyone Can Be An Agile Careerist

I think the idea of an agile careerist is not an ephemeral thing that cannot be grasped. Quite the opposite. By taking your career seriously and by constantly looking for ways to improve, adapt and succeed your career can and will be agile.

A few things came to mind when I thought about being an Agile Careerist:

  • Look for opportunities
  • Ask a lot of questions
  • Expect answers (but be realistic and use common sense to evaluate responses)
  • Take (calculated) chances

I have not always done each of these. And, depending upon who you ask, I may falter on several of these. But, as I’ve gotten older I have learned much more about the first two. Opportunities are often veiled. Until you ask questions you don’t know what you are getting into or might be missing.

Putting Agile Careerist to Use

I hope you can take these ideas, as simple as they are, and develop your own path as an Agile Careerist. When you do you will Stand Out in your Career. You will also be able to look more broadly for your next opportunities because you’ve taken the time to ask questions – sometimes of yourself for some introspection – and that you have taken the time to evaluate the responses you have received. Dig deep — again, within yourself and from others.

Becoming an Agile Careerist takes time and by the very definition of agile requires multiple iterations. The speed of iterations is not as important as the fact that you will seek continuous improvement.

There is no end to the cycle. Some might look at this as a negative aspect, but to the Agile Careerist each step is just another opportunity to learn and grow. Then, when the time is right, to apply those learnings to continue the journey.

Good luck on your journey to become an Agile Careerist.

How are you getting it done as a Agile Careerist? Drop a comment here and share with the Personal Branding Blog community how you are getting it done. Perhaps your wisdom and learnings can help someone else move there career forward. Who knows you might find a new collaborator to seek your next iteration.