Jan Bosch is a research center director, professor, consultant and angel investor in startups. You can contact him at jan@janbosch.com.

Opinion

Rule 6: Build skills, not position

Leestijd: 3 minuten

When I was a teenager, I thought the pinnacle of professional success was being responsible for hundreds of people in an organization. My dad was a regional manager in a big supermarket chain in the Netherlands and had thousands of people working in his area of responsibility and my view of success might have been shaped by that.

Interestingly, when I finally left academia and went to industry to lead an organization with a couple of hundred people, I quickly realized that my somewhat naive view on inhabiting such a position was quite flawed and simplistic. Although there was a strategic dimension to my position, which I enjoy immensely, the majority of my time was spent on coordination, people management and dealing with interpersonal issues.

For all the things I gratefully learned during those years, two main realizations made me move away from those types of roles. First, as you have no time to work on your actual area of technical expertise, your skills atrophy and your knowledge becomes stale and less relevant over time. Especially in the digital world, technology evolves so incredibly fast that even a year can already get you completely out of tune.

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