Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Consulting Boot Camp

This is not a technical entry. I will discuss no software in any detail. There will be no screen shots or a walk through.

I have been, and will be tied up in consulting boot camp through the remainder of August and the first couple weeks of September.

Why is this significant enough to warrant a blog entry?

Because I'm learning important stuff that I never had the opportunity to learn in a formal learning environment before. Well, most of it, anyway.

What I'm really enjoying is that there's a process and method to _everything_ on my new gig - which is the reason I signed on. They haven't thrown me into the waters to see if I'll sink or swim because they realize that people who don't know what they're doing do not make effective consultants.

But it's not the XML stuff or the technology that I'm really focusing on this time out... (That's more like a game of catch up or matching - this feature is that feature in some other product that I'm more familiar with than what's in front of me.) It's the soft skills, marketing, and product positioning that's making the difference.

I had a great set of mentors when I started out... And they deserve credit for contributing to where I am today. But I'm thinking about tomorrow, now. I've been watching people I know in their career situations, and I've learned what not to (be|wear|act like). But I've never really filled in the blanks about _what_ to be.

So I'm doing the soft skills soft shoe shuffle. I'm reading, and listening, and finding that it's really hard to apply this stuff on the spot in the real world. The soft skills experts are right. It takes dedicated and conscious practice to get your soft skills in order.

Which isn't necessarily easy for a loud mouth, opinionated, super heroine who wants to convert the world to XML before bedtime. "Think before you talk|speak|act" has become my mantra...

I guess all of this means that I actually have learned something from spending my time in the business section of the book store and library. Cool. Guess I'm succeeding at the "Continuous Learning" thing they're all going on about.

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