10 years of professional life
Last month I had completed 10 years in the workforce. Yet I feel as if I have just graduated and ready to learn and explore new things.
In these 10 years, I am grateful to my seniors and juniors from my own team and some from other teams, from whom I have learned many useful things in all my jobs. The learning ranges from creating a presentable PPT slide, using Functions in Excel sheet, formatting in MS Word, to writing and speaking skills, to creating robust machine learning models.
Yet after learning so much I feel I hardly know enough to keep up, and I wonder whether it was worth learning all that. New advancements happen every year. I was super-confident about my capabilities after using the basic version of BERT (an advanced Artificial Neural Network (ANN) model for Natural Language Processing) in our project. A year later many advanced and improved versions of BERT were available. And today many are using BERT and its variants in their projects, within 3 years of its first release. This year we might get GPT-4, another advanced ANN model.
I’m sure five years later both BERT and GPT would become obsolete and a new ANN model will dominate our efforts towards achieving Strong A.I.
This also means that five years from now, the new graduates and freshers on the job would have more understanding and hands-on experience on the latest ANN models since these are easily available on Github.
In this situation will my previous job experience matter?
Will I have to start-over every five years?
Will it be demotivating or satisfying to become a student again and again?
My hunch is that a beginner’s mind (with loads of patience) might help me welcome new knowledge with less prejudice. And with enough untainted knowledge across various domains, skills and sources might help in connecting the dots that were previously not visible. This will obviously be accompanied with stress, anxiety and feeling of being a failure.
I am yet to develop this beginner’s mind and last 10 years have been filled with doubts and insecurities. But with time I feel I have improved upon my capability of acceptance. I accept that whatever I do today might not matter in the long term, how I do it also might not matter, but why I do it will, and will shape my future decisions of what changes to embrace and which direction to turn to in the course of my life.