As a budding Instructional Designer, fresh out of grad school, I had a goal of working for my current employer 20 or 30 years from then. What a surprise it was for me to be invited to accept a Lead eLearning Developer position for my dream company only 6 months after graduating. Although this opportunity seemed too good to be true, and as inexperienced as I was, I trusted that they knew I could perform the responsibilities required of me.
Upon reflection, it wasn’t just good fortune that landed me this role. I had unwittingly demonstrated a skill/ability that won the position for me before I applied—I had delivered business results without any direction or need for supervision.
Back in grad school, I perceived a specific need in my dream organization and built a tool that would fill that need. Then I donated the tool to the organization. Simple as that.
Soon thereafter, I was contacted about the possibility of a paid internship for that organization. I got it. Two months later, I interviewed for a full-time position in the company and was hired!
Well, almost two years have gone by and the position I was hired to fill no longer resembles what it once was. My manager and I are both I’m unsure what will become of me.
This period of turbidity is a great moment for me to reflect on what I have learned over the past two years regarding my job. I don’t believe my managers actually ever had a solid vision for my position—they were busy figuring out their own new positions. Although I didn’t have the authority to create policy, I could have done more to define my own job while building the eLearning empire within my organization. What I needed was to return to what I did to get this job—deliver results without direction & supervision. I should have assessed the eLearning needs of our various customers, innovated, then built up the eLearning product into something mighty. (What I may or may not have been hired to do.) I cared so much about being mentored and having someone define my role for me, where in reality, that responsibility obviously fell to me.
Identify Needs On Your Own — Don’t Wait For Someone to Tell You
I never caught on to that expectation. I waited and waited for someone to identify a problem for me to solve. One never came. (But, even if I did, I wasn’t a “product manager.” I didn’t feel like I had the authority to do anything about it.) I’ve concluded, after carefully observing my own managers and reflecting upon those observations, that no one has time to tell anyone else how to do their job. Every employee is just expected to
bloom flourish where they are planted. Waiting is for pansies. (Do you see what I did there?)
Take action Within Reasonable Perview of your Job
This post is not a resume, so I won’t pad the truth. I learned heaps through this process, but ultimately, I failed to meet the non-communicated expectations of me to take the eLearning product to new heights during my tenure. Heck, I didn’t even realize that it was probably my job to do until I started reflecting on it. If I were to go back two years, I would have adopted a “kick butts and take names” mentality. I would have been more independent. I would have [constructively] clashed more with my managers. I would have taken more risks. I would have dreamed less and acted more.