This story fast forwards to about 2003. I was working for Owosso Public Schools and was just given the position of Webmaster (yes, that’s what they called us web developers back then!) and Professional Development Trainer. I was responsible for all of the websites, content, etc. and training our teachers how to use new software we introduced to the district. I had not a clue what I was doing. I knew HTML and some CSS. I was able to use Dreamweaver really well (horrible idea looking back), and I could handle Fireworks and Photoshop.
As a district we were trying to get more and more up on the website, and I just couldn’t do it all by myself. We didn’t have a nice content management system in place like we can these days. Back then, everything was a static HTML file — well we had SHTML we could use for some common pieces. I had a single intern at the time, but I was always having to check his work. So I thought it would be a good idea to hire a couple more interns so that we could get more done, I could focus on the training side of things.
So there I was 20 years old, no college degree and here I am hiring interns to help me work. Ultimately hiring 6 interns to help out writing content, creating new pages, updating pages and so on, was a big challenge. I had students that were older than I that I was going to have to report on, most importantly I was going to be responsible for their grade in the internship. Let me repeat that. I had the power to pass or fail these individuals. Me. A twenty year-old. No college degree. Talk about pressure! I felt that I was under an enormous amount of pressure to make sure these students not only learned something while on the job, but to also grade them.
Now there’s more to this story (after all I left yesterday’s a little light), but it’s not the point I want to make. The point I’m trying to make is that we each learn from previous jobs. We get put into situations where we are stretched. If we are accepting, we can learn from our successes and failures. We can use those for future positions. It’s a way of putting extra tools in our toolbox.
As web developers, we tend to think of our skills as writing code. What we don’t realize is the amount of skills we have from other jobs, or even other aspects of our jobs. If we can focus on those things, I think we can realize that we have more than just our daily writing code skills.
I was definitely thinking that these few posts were going to go be some striking revelation into my entrepreneur ways, but they have been more about realizing the skillsets one requires through various jobs. The next time you think about the skillsets you have, remember that it’s not always black and white. Sometimes there’s a little red in there too. It’s making sure to remember that we have those skills and they can help us to.