Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it's good for your career

We have all heard the phrase "curiosity killed the cat", but in my experience, intellectual curiosity is great for your career... (and in case you're interested, Warren Buffett agrees with me).

The message from this blog post is simply that approaching business and perhaps life, with a desire to learn, will be good for your career. I personally, am aiming for "lifelong learning" so I encourage you to read on for supporting arguments and tips on how to achieve just that.


The costs associated with pursuing learning will vary with the approach you take. One likely cost however, is time:

- time away from your job and the activities that contribute towards this year's bonus, or

- personal time that could be spent with family, friends etc.

If you decide to undertake formal education there will also likely be a financial cost.

In considering the above, it might be worth noting that in spending time learning about your coworkers, you may discover an area of the business that can help you to achieve your business goals faster. 

Regarding use of personal time... if you love learning it may not actually be a "time cost" to learn something new.


The benefits of having and displaying curiosity are numerious. Here are just a few:

- improved relationships with coworkers

If you seek to understand what your coworkers do day-to-day, you will have a better understanding of the challenges that they face and will likely develop rapport with them.

- stimulated creativity 

Learning new material and having discussions with others can spark creativity. For further tips on Creativity, refer to my blog post on the topic

- ability to better assess and learn from feedback without being defensive

Listening to feedback with the goal of learning, natually reduces defensiveness

- knowledge you can build on as you progress in your career

What to be curious about:

If you've come to the conclusion that the benefits outweigh the costs, you may be wondering "What should I be curious about?" and the short answer is everything.

If that's too general, perhaps you might want treat it like a series of circles (with your day-job at the center). The following is purely a thought-provoker (not a comprehensive list):

> Learn everything you can about your role,

> Learn about the roles of your immediate coworkers.

> Learn about the company.

> Learn about the industry.

> Learn about the function.

> Learn about history of your company.

> Learn about the history of your industry.

> Learn about the history of your function.

> Learn about the future of your industry or where its likely to head.

> Learn about the future of your function or where its likely to head.

How and where to begin:

Start with an open mind and a desire to learn, then, if it fits with your personality, set yourself a goal.

After that, begin to:

Talk - with people, about the topics you're interested in learning about or are already learning about. It reinforces what you've learned and you'll gain another perspective.

Read - books, articles, blog posts, magazines etc.

Listen to - news reports, interviews, stories you've heard, advice that's given etc.

Watch/observe - videos, presentations, how other people act etc. and

Attend - industry events, classes, lectures, etc.

That's it for now; until next time... good luck and have fun!

10-plus businesses open in Boyne City this year

The Boyne City community is home to 10 new businesses so far this year. It’s an impressive list that promises to add to the vitality of our community. And there are really more than 10, because the Boyne Wellness Station includes 6 health practitioners within. The Chamber and Main Street congratulate them all and wish them all the best of luck:
  • Boyne Parasail, Joshua Grove and Mike Koteskey, One Water Street Marina, (231) 881-6000, 
  • Boyne Wellness Station, 112 S. Park St. - 6 natural health practitioners (News-Review story)
  • The Brook Retirement Community, Cindy Goddard, 701 Vogel Street, (231) 582-4300,
  • JEMZ Consignment Shop, Liz Sivak, 500 N. Lake St., Suite F, (231) 582-2700
  • Meg McClorey Pottery, 211-1/2 S. Lake St., (248) 635-5851,
  • Morel's Bistro, Bret Cuper, 273 Old State Road, (231) 582-1170,
  • Northern Michigan Premier Properties, Ted and Pam Macksey, 44 N. Lake St., (231) 459-4404,
  • Precision Edge Surgical Products, Milt Kniss, 1448 Lexamar Dr., (231) 459-4304,
  • Red Carpet Mobile Autowash and Detail, 231-459-5609
  • The Thirsty Goat, Brian Asher, 220 S. Lake St., (231) 268-4628

Build a broad skill base - pursue learning, never money

Here is a piece of advice that I received early in my career:

 "Build a broad base of skills and experience that you can rely on as you progress in your career. While it may be possible (easy?) to secure a more senior position...greater responsibility and expectations come with increased salary. If you one day find yourself in a role where you cannot meet expectations, it is near impossible to any direction. Build that broad base, move up (only) when you are ready and the money will come."

I have considered this advice numerous times throughout my career. For example, when considering which role to pursue next, I try to identify a role at least one position further along my preferred career path. I then find a real role description for that role and see what skills and experience are required. That then gives me the criteria for the role that I am pursinging right now: Which of all the roles out there, am I confident that I can succeed in and will give me the most and best, skills and experience?

Note, I have a minimum salary that I would accept, but it is the minimum amount that my family can comfortably live on. I have almost never excluded a role on the basis of money. Please note, while I have typically worked in high paying industries, I have managed my/our budget very carefully,  which has increased my financial freedom. Perhaps, if you're interested, this could be a topic for a future blog post?

One final note on this topic, I would rather "hit it out of the park" in a more junior role, exceeding expectations, than just barely meet expectations in a more senior role. I love the career freedom this approach provides!