ABC’s Of Your Career Journey – C Is For Contribution

Some could perceive their career journey as one where they only focus on themselves and their goals. However if you analyze highly successful people you will realize that many help to better the lives of others. This can be accomplished in many ways from assisting in a project, report, presentation, etc., mentoring a staff member or even a colleague, and/or referring someone for a promotion or new job opportunity.

I have had several managers in my presentations talk about subordinates who are just coasting to retirement; they even have a retirement app that details the months, days, hours, and even seconds until retirement. These people are barely engaged at work so just want to put in minimum effort to get their paychecks. These managers are frustrated (some are very angry) that these subordinates do not see the value of leaving a legacy for their colleagues and future workers.

That scenario may be the extreme, however, I wonder how many people realize that they fall into the comfort zone trap. Yes they do their work and may go beyond “occasionally” but really do not think to extend themselves all the time. I am not suggesting getting “dumped on” so establishing boundaries is important but being a collaborative and helpful team player benefits the organization and the person in the long run.

One way to contribute is to become the “solutions person”. Every organization can improve their efficiencies but it takes time. In addition, many people are uncomfortable with change but that is inevitable in this fast paced environment that we all live and work in. Before making recommendations, it is imperative that you analyze the situation, review several alternatives, discuss casually with a few others, and then detail a plan to accomplish it. There may be pushback and it may also fail but some of the greatest inventions and work flows came about from previous failures so you have to at least try.

Although senior leaders have busy schedules, many find time to mentor others. I worked with a Fortune 500 financial services company that paired junior people with some of the top leaders in the company. The matches were not necessarily from the same division and many were not in the same geographic location. The objective was to provide guidance and support to these staff members, however, the leaders said they learned a lot as well and would be willing to be mentors again. The staff members reported that their mentor was always available to them and usually had more sessions than what was required in the program which they truly appreciated.

All these examples can help you in your career journey for a variety of reasons. The biggest one is the intrinsic value you feel by helping another person. Even if all you get is a simple “thank you” for all you did, it still is that sense of pride that you helped another person. In addition, in a meeting to discuss a promotion or in a job interview providing concrete examples of how you assisted your organization will be viewed very favorably. Those that keep to themselves and do not go beyond their job description will find it much more difficult to get ahead. This all may seem like common sense but when life gets hectic, we may forget to lend a hand.

5 Things to Consider When Planning for Sonographer Career Advancement

Many Diagnostic Medical Sonographers spend their careers working in imaging departments at hospitals, clinics and physician officers. However, there are options for advancement with the right preparation in terms of education and the ability to show required experience. The sonographer can become a department head or other administrator, specialize in one or more areas of sonography, become a faculty member in an instructional program, or work in private industry.

No matter what career path is chosen, there are educational and certification requirements that sonographers must meet. Following are some things to consider during career planning.

1. Plan the Desired Career Path for 5 years Down the Road

It is important to think about where the career path should lead in 3-5 years. The reason for planning ahead is that it enables the sonographer to pursue additional certifications in a specialty or gain experience in a certain type of imaging. There is also time to pursue additional education, like completing additional sonography training in new technologies or procedures.

2. Earn the Appropriate Degree

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers can decide to move into administration like director of an ultrasound department or manager of an outpatient clinic performing ultrasound scans. These type of positions require a Bachelors Degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Many sonographers pursuing a bachelor’s degree already have an associate’s degree in sonography and professional experience. They choose to earn a higher degree in order to advance their career and move out of entry-level positions.

A Master’s Degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography opens up additional career opportunities in teaching, medical research, writing and publishing, and consulting in private industry.

3. Consider Specializing

The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography offers sonography program graduates examinations to earn credentials, and there are specialties. Earning the specialty credentials opens up new career pathways and higher salaries.

For example, a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer may decide to specialize in echocardiography. Upon meeting the prerequisites for taking the specialty exam, the sonographer can take the exams in adult echocardiography, pediatric echocardiography and fetal echocardiography to become a Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer.

4. Network with Other Professionals

Develop a strong network of professional associations in sonography and other health fields. Good strategies are joining organizations like the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS). The membership organization works to promote medical sonography through educational programs, stimulating research, and publishing a scientific journal. Not only can the sonographer network with other professionals, but the person develops connections for writing, presenting and publishing. These are activities that can raise professional stature.

Other professional groups include the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM), the Society for Vascular Ultrasound (SVU) and the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE).

More networking methods include attending workshops held by local healthcare facilities or universities and volunteering services at medical facilities for charitable purposes. Sonographers also hold workshops and speak at local events.

5. Consider Private Industry

Sonographers work in many more places than just hospitals, clinics and physician offices. They are also employed in equipment manufacturing, sales and consulting. Some sonographers earn additional specific credentials so they can specialize in a certain area of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. However, it is advisable to earn as many ARDMS credentials as possible if planning to go to work for a private company.

It is beneficial to consider all the career options before deciding on the best path. Sonographers should set goals and lay out a clear plan for reaching those goals. It is a good idea to talk to other Diagnostic Medical Sonographers who are in the various positions of faculty, administrator, researcher, sales and so on. This can help to clarify long-term goals. The one thing the sonographer should never do is think that sonography has limited career options because that is simply not true.

The Greatest Mistake of My Woodworking Career

When I was starting out as a furniture maker, one of the people I went to for advice and mentoring was a furniture maker called Alan Peters. Alan had a wonderful workshop in Kentisbeare not an hour away from where I now live and work. When I first met Alan I was in London trying to work out how to do this, and he had what I wanted. He had a workshop in the countryside he had two exceptional makers, he had a market for his work and had a reputation as a furniture maker of contemporary furniture of quality and integrity. And all of this I wanted.

When I first met Alan I went there on a one-week course that he was running during the summer. He invited about four or five of us into his workshop during the summer months when his staff were on vacation. He prepared materials for us and we made a small cabinet doors and a drawer. Firstly I was stunned at how much we achieved in such a relatively short time. That was later I think explained by the fact that this was a professional workshop not really a teaching workshop. Allan was used to speed and efficiency in his making, he did it himself, and he expected it of others.

I remember being a royal pain in the backside during that week. I was the first one in the morning scratching on Alan’s workshop door at seven o’clock and the last one out at locking up time. I saw the tiredness in his eyes but I still kept on pumping. I had someone in front of me who knew everything I didn’t and I wanted to get at every syllable of that knowledge.

I could say that Alan was patient and kind which he was especially with someone he felt was worth the effort. But to be honest he could be abrasive and short tempered. He had little time for incompetence and more than once told me “to stop faffing about, cut it once then leave it”. But his speed and competence with hand tools left a major impression upon me. This man knew how to make things and make them fast. He didn’t need machines to cut a straight line, as I did, and he could work in the silence of the bench shop without screaming machines and dust laden air to ruin his day. He hated the scream of a router in the bench shop, it visibly upset him.

Alan Peters taught me during that week and subsequent times that I worked with him most of the really important things I now know about woodworking. But the one thing I didn’t really listen to was his advice on timber. Alan Peters had stacks and stacks of different species of hardwood. He poured money and time and energy into that resource because, like me, he didn’t know whether he would be making a cathedral door or a jewelery box next. I saw this investment of time and money and thought I won’t do that. I will be smart and buy in kiln dried material as and when I need it. When I know I needed 12 foot ash boards for the cathedral door I will go and buy them.

Big mistake Alan. Because of his resource of stacks of air dried material, you always had hand Oak that cuts like hard cheese and Ash that would plane to finish from the blade. My mistake has been to condemn my makers to work with material that has been killed in the drying process. Kiln dried stuff you have to fight with, you get there in the end but it’s a fight. It doesn’t give you the results like air dried stuff will if you just approach it properly with a sharp edge knowledge and a respectful manner.