Sunday, 6 May 2012

10,000 Hours

I’ve heard this a few times now.  Maybe someone wrote a book about it.  If you work at a career for 10,000 hours, you’ll achieve a level of proficiency that ushers you from a novice to a competent expert.  Oookaaaay… 

There may be something to that, but not much.  If you spend 20% of your time text-messaging, 20% of your time chatting at the water cooler and 20% of your time leaning, you’ll become an expert in “goofing-off” before anything.  Those who are earnest and who have that illusive work-ethic and who are bright could easily become a trusted advisor to their clients in less than 5 years of 40 hour days.

I started as a sales clerk; and over 40,000 hours later this industry has become my career and my passion.  If you’ve been in this business for less than 5 years and you think this is just a job I hope you’ll look further.  Besides rising from sales clerk to assistant manager to manager, there are many great professions in this industry:  gemology, goldsmithing, designer, wholesale account management, bookkeeper, buyer, corporate sales, insurance replacement specialist, watchmaker, marketing manager, social media coordinator, owner and more. 

Just because you don’t need a degree to start in this industry doesn’t mean you don’t need supplemental education to progress.  If sales is your path, read books on business and selling, attend seminars, join a service club or toastmasters.  If you are a born leader, take business courses, network with other businesses and look for opportunities to prove to your employer that you can handle increasing levels of responsibility.  Investigate CJA, CGA, GIA, George Brown and other sources of industry training.  If you can justify that taking a course will increase your employers long-term business prospects they might even sponsor you or reward you with advancement for your efforts.

Until the opportunity presents itself to advance into the position of your dreams don’t forget the following two things.  Regardless of your specialty, everyone must learn to be a team player who will do whatever it takes to contribute to a harmonious, fully-functioning workplace.  Secondly, no matter how much effort it takes to mine, sort, polish and market the gemstones; prospect, mine, refine, cast, design, shape, set, market and sell the gold; buy, advertise, display, secure and present the finished jewellery; our industry is dead in the water without the front-line staff who help get these designs the final 18” from the showcase into the consumer’s hands.

Have a great career!

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