How do i learn and grow professionally?
Many people just assume that you have to have a world-class mentor or some exceptional supervisor to put you ahead and understand everything with the industry.
A great mentor helps, don’t get me wrong, but there’s also different resources today that didn’t exist just 15 years ago.
Take YouTube for example, it’s a wealth of knowledge and can teach a whole number of concepts the people in older generations just didn’t have.
The same is true nowadays.
We have more books, organizations, and more online content available now than we ever have in the history of the industry.
If you want to learn and grow technically, start by absorbing any and all resources available to you.
If you’re on this platform, you have an open gate for a lot of content and opportunity to grow.
But also pick up books and read them. Code books are great for experience but are extremely difficult to read and very difficult to understand when you don’t know the context of what is important and what is not.
I’ve tried reading code, and it’s just a very difficult thing to do and actually absorb what is going on.
How much better approach is to find something more like a textbook or introductory books, see the links below for two that I would recommend. A great one to get started with the overview of the industry is fire protection systems by a Maurice Jones Junior. Another one is and NFSA‘s layout detail and calculation of fire sprinkler systems edited by Ken Isman. Those are great.
If your company doesn’t have a copy, go buy one. Even if you’re cash strapped like I was coming out of school, a simple $100 investment in any edition of these two books will pay off in your career tremendously.
In my opinion the number one way to grow technically is to have an insatiable appetite for learning.
Read as much as you can, go beyond just what others our training you with, take notes, build your own notebook or binder or library of material that you can use as a reference in the future, and go all in. There’s so many resources out there so take advantage of them.
How can I grow and improve career-wise?
If you do great work and are knowledgeable and friendly, people will notice. You’ll work with people in your company and outside of your company and make good impressions, which is a great way in itself to network.
Personally, I think the best way to get to where do you want to go is to continually work towards being the person that you truly want to be.
In your work relationships, friendships, if you work all the time to be the person that you want to be around, then things kind of have a way of working themselves out professionally. More opportunities will be available to you. For a great great in-depth read on what I am talking about, by Dale Carnegie‘s how to Win friends and influence people. It I was truly a game changer for me and gave me some basic tools on how to build quality relationships, communicate better, and kind of just be a more thoughtful kind of person. The book is nearly 100 years old now, and it’s main principles have with stood the test of time. Pick it up and adopt a few of the basic practices, and I promise you’ll see results within days.
Last thing on this topic is building relationships with those you work with internally and externally are important assets that you’ll have for the rest of your life. When you have quality experiences with other people, they get good impressions of you and it opens up possibilities in the future that you might never anticipate.
People you work with will change companies and move around. Some people will get promoted. Some people will become future clients. Things are not static over the course of a career, and especially in an industry like fire protection, the players may move around but we are also hang around. I now work with one of my early mentors every other week on video calls despite the fact that we’ve both since moved to two different companies. The groups that I worked with early in my career is now spread across probably 12 different companies across the country. Those early relationships are opportunities that if I needed, I could call up any of them and have an open door in to getting hired or potentially hiring on new people. I would’ve never thought that was possible when I got started in the industry. Invest in relationships with people, and not only will your colleagues become friends but you’ll also open doors to opportunities down the road.
How do I learn and grow professionally? First is to invest in technical growth. Learn, absorb, dive in and soak up information that makes you more knowledgeable. Second is to invest in relationships. Build trust, be a friend, and place importance on spending time and effort to be the best version of yourself to build quality working relationships over time.
I'm Joe Meyer, this is MeyerFire University.
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