When are you officially an expert in your field?
Better yet, when can you say, "I have arrived?"
When can you finally sit back and let your life do the talking?
Have I finally gotten to the point that my resume is gathering dust and my work sort of speaks for itself?
I started thinking about those types of things recently. For one, I am about to be featured at my university in a publication that will feature one mass communications alum. It is highlighting my accomplishments over the past 20 years, many that I did not even have to tell the interviewer. They already knew. (Wow.) Back in college, I remember reading things like this feature and thinking to myself, "I hope I finally get to a place where I have accomplished something to be remembered by."
Then there are all of these speaking opportunities that keep popping up. It's not the fact that I am being asked to speak, is the fact that I am getting paid to speak. Just for sharing my ideas and my life's experience. For one, I have an opportunity next weekend at a local college. I went from speaking to high school students wanting to break into my career field (for free,) to sharing my expertise and getting paid to share it at a college or university. (Not too shabby.)
Even though all of these wonderful accolades are being presented to me, every once in a while I find myself in a stand off with someone who must, for whatever reason, not see my worth or understand my experience. I hate those people who are constantly shoving their resume in your face, but sometimes, people make you want to whip it out and say, "Hey- guess what?! I might actually know what I am talking about!!"
That happened recently on a few occasions, with much, MUCH younger professionals. Perhaps it is a millennial thing, or maybe it is just one of those insecurity things, but it seems young professionals are sometimes pushing a little too hard and coming off rather overly confident without the real-world experience to back it up.
I remember coming up the ranks and showing people in my field, with actual real world experience, as much respect as possible. I listened, because I knew there might be something new to learn, that little nugget that I would never find in a text book. However, I'm afraid, there is a new batch of people who are under the impression that you don't pay your dues, and instead expect everything to be handed to them and/or they want a gold star for every little thing they do. Heck, I always did my homework (and still do,) on the people I do business with. What are they best known for? What can I learn from them? What is their background.
I don't think a lot of people do this anymore.
All I can do is shake my head.
I've worked with several interns over the years, and I try very hard to paint a realistic picture of what it is like to work in my field. I've kept in touch with many of them, and I hope that everything I have shared has helped.. in some way.
Unfortunately, I'm seeing a new crop, and this crop is extremely disappointing. I hope this is just a coincidence, and things change.Even some of the volunteers I work with in the community from time to time make it extremely difficult guide them.
Where are you in your life cycle? Are you the expert now or are you trying to gain insight?