If you’ve ever spent time around a small child, you know that one of their favorite questions is a simple little word that can stop a grown up in their tracks. “Why?” Why is the sky blue? Why do the lights come on when I flick this switch? Why does the car move when you step on the gas pedal? Why? Why? Why? Kids want to know and understand everything around them. They want to be masters of their own universes.
When it comes to our careers, maybe we could learn a thing or two from that insatiable curiosity. Putting in the effort of asking questions and then seeking out answers is the surest way to become the master of your own professional destiny.
How do you do that without driving everyone around you to the brink of insanity? Read. A lot. Get your hands on as much quality material about your target profession as you can. Keep a notebook, electronic or paper, and record the interesting things you learn. You never know when a bit of information gleaned from a book or article you’ve read will be the one piece of information that will help you in an interview, solve a problem, or open an unexpected door.
If you already know where to find publications suited to your quest, great! If you don’t, no need to panic. You could start at your local library. Librarians are amazing resources and may know just the right book, magazine, or professional reading material to get you started. If not, they’ll at least know where in the library to find what you need.
If you’re more of the go-it-alone type, check out a site like Amazon. Or find someone in your field who is on Twitter. See who they follow, and then you can follow the ones who share the most helpful content.
There is no shortage of reading material out there. If you want to be more than a cog in the machinery of your career, start investing in yourself and see what kinds of dividends you will reap. In the words of author Anthony J. D’Angelo, “Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.”