Career Essentials Newsletter March 2006 - Advance your career by being a Knowledge Worker

[Career Essentials] Newsletter March 1, 2021 - Advance your career by being a Knowledge Worker


Welcome, loyal readers and new subscribers!

February brought a month of drama to New York City. We went from languid days of Spring-like weather to the largest snowfall the city has ever seen — almost 27 inches! The city was truly magical during the blizzard, serene and fluffy white.

Nesting is my modus operandi when it’s cold outside. Hot chocolate and apple pie are my feel good indulgences. Here’s a photo of me taking an aromatic apple pie out of the oven. Yes, folks, I actually baked it from scratch, crust and all!

Frequently I’m asked by clients to recommend books or web sites on specific career-related topics. I strongly believe that having specific knowledge makes you a valuable resource, regardless of your industry or occupation. That was the genesis of this month’s article: Advance Your Career by being a Knowledge Worker.

Also, my friend Julie Jansen has written a great book, it’s entitled You Want Me To Work with Who? It’s a savvy, humane guide to establishing workplace harmony. You’ll find more about her book in the recommended resource section below.

Have an amazingly delicious March!

To Your Success,

Recommended Resource

Julie Jansen’s new book You Want Me to Work with Who? gives you eleven keys to a stress-free, satisfying and successful work life no matter who you work with. Julie’s writing is practical and clear-headed and she shows you how to master the art of getting along with even the most dysfunctional colleagues. It’s essential reading for anyone who wants a blueprint for improving workplace relationships.

Advance your career by being a Knowledge Worker

What’s a knowledge worker?

The phrase "knowledge worker" was introduced by Peter Drucker over thirty years ago to describe someone who provides value by creating new information which then can be used to define and solve problems.

Why should you care?

Anyone who wants to excel in his/her career or who wants to outshine the competition needs to be a knowledge worker.

I was prompted to write about this concept because it struck me that while there’s an overload of information available, most people feel lost as to where to find the best information and how to translate it.

So, how do you become a Knowledge Worker?

By using your intellect to turn your ideas into processes, services or products.

You can become a worker who “sources between his/her ears” by translating information into a user-friendlier format, by defining and solving problems, and by adding deeper understanding and knowledge to already existing information.

And because knowledge has such a limited shelf life, the gathering, translating and applying of knowledge becomes an even more critical career skill.

A Key for Job Seekers too!

One of the key qualities that employers seek is intellectual curiosity. This is another way of underscoring the importance of refining your thought processes and being a knowledge worker.

Job candidates who exhibit intellectual curiosity have the edge because of the timesaving and/or profit-enhancing methods they typically invent. These employees are inherently less of a drain on management resources.

How do you learn to source between your ears and become a Knowledge Worker?

Here’s how:

  • By seeking out experts in your field
  • By building a community of peers and associates who can provide a wellspring of inspiration and a testing ground for nascent ideas
  • By having conversations that raise the level of discourse and expand the reach of your knowledge
  • By attending professional conferences
  • By reading journals, books and other knowledge sources

Here are recent client examples showing how being a knowledge worker has paid off:

One client raised her profile with her employer by being the expert on how to pitch a story to a specific media outlet. She knew who to call and what to say. No one else had this knowledge.

Another client used his formidable knowledge of competitive market intelligence to pitch a new employer. The prospective employer was so impressed that they want to create a job for him.

A third client was promoted because of his continuing efforts to streamline a new paint process that had major startup glitches. He persevered, mastered the new equipment and installed failsafe procedures that earned him recognition from the Plant Manager and VP of Manufacturing.

Few employers could argue with the benefits of employing knowledge workers: efficiency, effectiveness and innovation.

My advice?

Set yourself apart by becoming a knowledge worker. The time you spend in self-development and deepening your knowledge in your area of expertise can be as valuable as an advanced degree.

About Dale:

Dale Kurow, M.S. is an author and a career and executive coach in NYC. She works with clients across the U.S. and internationally, helping them to become better managers, figure out their next career moves and thrive despite office politics. Click here for more information about her services.

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