Early on in my career as a packaging engineer, the director of my team said to me, “without the right tools, how can we expect you to do your job?”. This was over 5-years ago, but it still sits top of mind for me whenever I am about to dive into a new project. A tool can come in many forms and does not always mean something physical that you can hold. For example, knowledge is a very important tool required to finish a project. Knowledge can be gained through schooling or experience. I am sure there are other methods of gaining knowledge, but these are the two that come to mind right now.
Another form of a tool is an actual physical object that allows you to work more efficiently and effectively. For example, a shovel to dig a hole or a computer to collect data. Typically, tools can help you get the job done easier than if you did not have the tool. There are times when it is nearly impossible to complete a job without the tool. There are times when a tool has not yet been invented to complete a task. There are times when tools are modified to make it more useful for your specific job.
Most tools cost money, even if it is knowledge. Sometimes knowledge is actually the most expensive form of tool when you put dollars to it. The cost of college can add up quickly (i.e., $100k to $200k). The cost of trainings can also add up quickly. With that being said, knowledge can be the most useful tool out of any tool available. Shovels, computers, and fixtures can often be less than education. Often the best investment is in people and this can be observed throughout history. I’ll save this discussion for another time.
As I carry-on in my career, I am quite aware I need to build on my capabilities to get to the next level. This involves adding new tools to my toolbox. This also involves gaining new knowledge through experience and continued education. I’d like to think I am most equipped today than I have ever been before. I’d like to think this trend will continue as I carry-on throughout my career. We should all be preparing ourselves for future opportunities and allowing ourselves to grow, even in times of uncertainty. Let me know your thoughts!