Warning: Don’t Become a Blind Technician
If you’re here reading this, great. I don’t care who you are or what you do, this article is for YOU. Whether you’re a writer, entrepreneur, college student, heck you could be a librarian — it does not matter.
This will change the way you look at work.
Much of the verbiage and concepts I use is a reference to The E Myth by Michael E. Gerber. The book is all about small business and why 70% of startups fail within 5 years. Although a business read, the notions amend to all types of life.
I’ll use a freelance writer as an example throughout this article; probably the most applicable here.
Imagine our friend Joe.
Joe is a freelance writer and he works with a number of clients on a weekly basis. He stays quite busy, as he has a lot of obligations and deadlines to meet.
The typical work day for Joe looks like this:
- Joe enters his office and settles into his work space
- He pulls up his email and creates a schedule for the day
- He begins working on his writings / projects
- Joe continues working until he fulfills all his requirements
- He sends out a couple of housing keeping emails
- Joe’s work day is over
Oversimplified, but you get the gist. What do you see here?
Joe is acting as a technician. He’s at a point in his work where there’s a process down pat. He knows his responsibilities, understands the work that needs get done, and has the knowledge / skills to fulfill those tasks.
There’s a clear-cut path for Joe to follow everyday. It doesn’t require a whole lot of thought on his part; he just strolls in and does the work. Joe knows if he follows this routine he’ll bring home the bacon for today.
All that matters, right?
Many of us are like Joe. We’ve got a structure in place. Tasks are laid out in a practical manner. The work is right there. All you need to do is make it happen!
Joe is stagnant. He’s doing work every day, hours on end, and it feels like he’s getting somewhere. The reality? He’s on a treadmill. He’s not really going anywhere.
If our friend here keeps this up, he’ll be doing the exact same thing a year out from now. Maybe some minor changes, but essentially, he’ll be following the same process as described before.
There isn’t anything completely wrong with this kind of work. We need technicians. Without them, nothing would get done and our economy wouldn’t exist.
However, acting solely as a technician is not optimal.
As a technician, you aren’t setting yourself up for progress. You aren’t adapting or innovating, or concerned with tomorrow. You’re working for today and only today.
That is a dead-end mindset. Joe needs to wear another hat.
Joe needs to remove himself from the technical work at least once a week, if not more. He can’t drown himself in the detailed, meticulous work. He needs to get conceptual.
Like Joe, we can all benefit from taking a step back and considering our position on a wide-scale. We can’t only see ourselves as workers. We have to keep an eye on the road up ahead if we plan to stick around.
You have to be a visionary.
Visionaries differ from technicians in a few ways:
- Concerned with the future, rather than the work at hand
- Proactive rather than reactive
- Improvement in skill valued over use of skill
- Build exponential work rather than remain in static work
It’s great that Joe is able to make a living off of his freelance writing. It’s awesome that he’s completely self-sufficient and can get by doing what he enjoys.
However, Joe could be doing so much more if he took the time to consider the possibilities of growth.
He could learn a new skill to couple along with his writing abilities. He could look for trends in the market and adapt his work to get ahead of the curve. He could join a new community and expand his freelance reach. He could hire someone to take care of his preliminary work and grow into a new industry.
These may be sweeping generalizations, but the point is Joe can do more.
There are other aspects of his position that deserve time, thought, and effort. If he wants to sustain his career as a freelancer, he’s got to step out of the technician’s shoes and enter into a visionary role.
What about you?
Take the time to consider your own situation. Are you living solely as a technician? Do you need to get more conceptual about your work? If this doesn’t apply to you now, I’m sure the time will come.
Consider the “what-if?” Get creative about your approach. There are always opportunities to push the envelope and take your position to a new level.
Seek out those opportunities; don’t let the work at hand blind you from the possibilities of the future.