Career Growth: A Marathon, Not a Sprint

I gave my first talk of the year yesterday titled "From Frontend to CTO - Climbing the Tech Ladder".

And naturally, what most people were looking for out of this talk were hacks or shortcuts.

And that made me want to jot down some of my thoughts.

When I started my career journey, I wanted to climb the ladder fast, make a big impact, and achieve my dreams in just a few years.

But I soon realized that career growth is more like a marathon than a sprint.

In a marathon, runners don't rush at the start. They pace themselves, understanding that it's a long race. Similarly, in our careers, rushing to achieve quick success can lead to burnout and missed opportunities for learning and growth.

It's about steady progress, not instant results.

I learned the importance of patience (which definitely doesn't come naturally to me).

We need endurance in our careers. We face challenges and obstacles, but we keep going.

No matter how small, each step takes us closer to our goals.

Building skills and gaining experience takes time. When I first started, I wanted to be perfect at everything immediately. But I've learned that it's okay to take time to improve and learn from mistakes. Growth happens over time, not overnight.

Just like you won't become a better runner without running, you need to earn experience and do the things you want to do.

So don't lean on courses and YouTube videos giving you a false sense of progress. Put your running shoes on.

Get out and earn real experience by doing the thing you want to do.

And when you start running, you might surprise yourself how far you can go.

I also realized the importance of balance. Just as runners must care for their health and rest, we must balance work with our personal lives.

This balance keeps us mentally and physically healthy, allowing us to perform our best in the long run.

Early in my career, I didn't follow this advice, and I do wish I had focused on it earlier, which might have helped me avoid a lot of burnout and suffering.

If you care about career growth, your career is an infinite game.

You won't get to a point where you are suddenly satisfied, or you'll win.

Most marathon runners will never win a marathon. But, they continue to run nonetheless.

This means you need to play it in a manner where you are always moving forward but at a sustainable pace.

You'll never be perfect.

Yes, you'll get tired.

Yes, you'll have failures.

But... Keep running!

Avatar for Niall Maher

Written by Niall Maher

Founder of Codú - The web developer community! I've worked in nearly every corner of technology businesses; Lead Developer, Software Architect, Product Manager, CTO and now happily a Founder.


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