League? Quite possibly
Comfort Zone? Absolutely
A couple of years ago, there was a position open at my company for a Web Developer. I didn't have all the skills needed for the position, but I was going to school, and strongly felt that I would have the skills necessary for the job "someday." I didn't apply for the position.
Then, I stopped taking the college courses because of the children -- that's the reason I quit. "It's just easier for me not to go to school right now." A bit of a cop-out, to be sure.
Recently, I've been questioning myself. "What if the Web Developer job was available again? Would I want it?"
The answer was nearly a visceral reaction, "I want that job."
In an effort to squash the "I don't have the skills for that job", thinking that I've been harboring for a while now, I went down to our I.S. Department and pestered Joe the Web Developer. I let Joe know I was interested in web development, and although my skills were a bit rusty, I'm interested in helping out whenever and wherever I can. That particular department has seen a significant increase in workload over the last six months, and I was hoping my offer of assistance wouldn't be ignored.
Joe thanked me for letting him know, and I felt I had been dismissed. As I was walking away, Joe said "Can you update this form?" I beamed and said, "Lemme take a look." The form was put together with a mixture of Cold Fusion, Java, and HTML.
HTML? No problem.
Java? I took a course of Java in school and somehow passed it, but never felt comfortable with it.
Cold Fusion? I've worked with only a teeny bit before.
I was pretty much at the "Oh Lord help me" level with this form.
Thank goodness for books.
I did what I could on the form; I made the cosmetic changes, changed some of the code behind the scenes -- the code that I understood needed to be changed -- and gave the form back to Joe the Web Developer. I told Joe I'm here, and to call me if he has any questions about what I did. I also let him know I wouldn't mind walking through what else needed to be changed if he had time to show me.
Now I hold my breath because I'm pretty sure I messed that form up good with my own good intentions. (I only monkeyed with a copy of the original form. I may not know exactly what I'm doing, but I'm not stupid)
While working on this form, another mini "learning project" came up for me, so I'll work on that, too. That project is just for me, but it will benefit others, so I'm looking forward to working on it.
In and amongst all of this "web stuff", I'm starting to receive my review books for my CPS exam in May.
The main reason I am doing this is for work. The Boss feels that a $50 million company should have employees that strive to achieve that level of blah-blah-blah.
I'm no English major, and it's been over 15 years since I was enrolled in any business courses. When I finished the practice exam offered online, I realized I was in over my head. My company is paying for this exam, and you know they don't want to pay for me to retake it if I fail.
Thankfully, my company has purchased all the review materials I have asked for. Now, it's up to me to pull this off.
I'm completely out of my comfort zone with these two aspects of my career right now. It is taking a conscious effort to keep myself moving forward, rather than give up and stick to scheduling meetings and shuffling papers. I can NOT do that for the rest of my life.
I can do this.
- - - - - -
Later this afternoon, I had a chance to make a difference. A customer called in asking to talk to The Boss. He is out of the office until next week, so I handled her call and got her the information she was looking for. At the end of the call, she told me she was satisified with the information I gave her, and there was no need for The Boss to call her when he returned next week. I've never had a customer call like that before. It gave me a very good feeling.
I also had an impromptu meeting with a couple of other guys from our I.S. Department. It was a chance to let them know (a little more in depth) what my intentions were with web development. These guys are a little further up the chain in the I.S. Department. I'm getting the word out there.
Now I *know* I can do this. I just have to keep moving forward.