We all wish we knew then what we know now. What would you say to yourself at the start of your current career? "Dear Past Me" is a series of posts where I explore just that.
It's a sad thing, but there will be times when you're less appreciated for being thoughtful and creative than for being able to perform a task others can't. Accept it for what it is and let it go. It's a part of working for someone else and it helps keep the lights on...
Just Don't Turn Off Your Brain
Sure, it's easier to get through mundane tasks when you're on autopilot: washing dishes, digging ditches and typing out 3 pages of faxed text because a client refuses to send an e-mail all come to mind. That's okay -- listen to some music or a podcast or whatever keeps you sane -- but if you stop thinking for yourself then you'll eventually run into problems.
Big knife fall into the sink? Stop washing and fish it out.
Is the hole starting to smell like natural gas? Stop digging and put out that cigarette.
Giant 'F-bomb scrawled across the page? Stop typing and contact that e-mail adverse client.
We can't always be presented with interesting problems and we won't always be learning new things, but firing a few extra synapses will keep you from making stupid mistakes and looking like a jackass.