I’ll admit it, I’m old. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still insanely talented and awesome, that goes without saying. But, well, you know, I’m not really as up to date as I could be with things like Pinterest and WordPress and WhateverTheHellIsNext.com.
Get on board the next big thing. Fast.
And that’s your opportunity. The gap in the door you can well and truly stick your foot in.
You see, whether we’re 18 or 80, we need to constantly keep learning new things. New skills, new technologies, new... things. When we get out of school or college or university or whatever it is we were in, it’s easy to believe we’re done with the study and it’s time to get to work and finally start earning money. But that’s not quite how it works in the real world. Starting earning doesn’t mean you stop learning. I mean yes, you go to work, but you don’t ever stop learning. Not really. At least you shouldn’t.
And I’m not talking about learning how to be better at what you’ve already learned, but learning entirely new, complementary skills.
Change happens. And that opens new doors.
Regardless of what you studied, and where you’re planning on fitting in to the industry, I can guarantee you there’s a change about to happen. Not because I’m Nostradamus, or even because I’m all that smart. But because I’ve watched it happen time and time again everywhere.
I’ve watched entire industries come and go within what seems like the blink of an eye. And when those changes happen, that’s your opportunity. If you’re smart, you’ll get on the front end of them. You’ll find out everything you can about that next new thing and use it to get your foot in the door. Because no matter how old you are, or aren't, and how long you have or haven’t been in the industry, no-one can know more about a new thing than you!
No one can have more experience than you in something that’s completely new.
When I worked in Cambodia, I did my best to mentor quite a few up-and-coming creatives who, let me tell you, have had way less opportunity than you. No matter how tough you think you’ve got it, they’ve most likely had it tougher. But the opportunity for them was the same. Regardless of their lack of experience, lack of general industry knowledge, lack of good, experienced people to learn from, or even their current level of talent, if they chose to learn all about the next big thing, and do it fast, they would end up being as much of an expert as someone in London or New York or some other fancy place. They would end up with new skills that were in demand.
Same goes for you. You can be as much of an expert at ‘it’ as anyone - even way more senior people. And if I’m being really honest, there’ll be plenty of old farts like my good self, who simply can’t be bothered learning every single new thing that comes along, so we’ll hire someone like you to do it for us.
Get used to the fact that, officially or otherwise, you’ll be learning forever.
That’s your key. Be good at what you intended to be good at. But don’t stop studying when you stop studying. Don’t ever stop learning. Keep an eye open for the next new thing, and jump on it. Use it as your way in.
Those doors you want to get in may be closed, but there’s more than one key that will open them, and it may not be the key you were given when you first hit the job market. So keep collecting keys and one of them will open the door soon enough.
About the author
Sputnik is an internationally awarded creative and brand consultant at Out of this World where he has worked on projects for some of the world’s biggest brands including Disney, Coca Cola, Unilever and The Simpsons. He is the author of 'The Swashbucklers Guide to Becoming an Astronaut' and the creator of the Job Hunter's Boot Camp.