I always used to wonder about the skills required to have a successful career. All these years, I learnt about things such as domain knowledge, practice hard, network hard, play the game hard on the field & enjoy life outside the field, play to win, never let yourself compromise on your integrity, build respect via performance and doing things and so on.
I still maintain that each of the above attributes are incredibly important and hold true even in this day and age of instant gratification and overnight celebrity status. But what I did not know all these years, is something I have learnt only in the last few months. And that skill is, the skill of learning & learning continuously. This is potentially the most important skill that is needed to have a growth-oriented career.
During 2011, I have learnt that there comes a saturation point in one's career, if there are no new avenues to learn. That is the time when you realise that you don't have too much growth in your current line, as the learning has either dwindled or has stopped. This is also the time that you realise that you have been in a particular stream of activity for a pretty long time & have reached a particular stage in that stream. It is at that stage that you discover that learning is increasingly reducing. It is the first trigger to identify that, something is not right (like it used to be all these years).
I don't have all the answers on how to get out of a situation where there is very marginal level of learning & thereby potential slow/low/nil career growth. But I do know, that where learning stops, career growth stops. It is up to the individual to chart a new course of action, to locate newer ways to reskill and find a way to re-organise a way to grow all over again. What is needed is the ability to identify the skills that are transferrable from the current domain into newer areas and to use the foundation of a particular stream into other areas.
Never knew that the skill of learning is so alive and critical even in the modern era. Glad, that it is still relevant.