This article was written by an external contributor. Doctor Who super-fan Anam Mahmood explains what lessons we can take away from the show for our careers.
Great advice can be found anywhere if you pay enough attention. With the most recent season of Doctor Who just gone, I reflected on the show in general, and what I learnt from it as I navigated through the twists and turns of young adult working life.
For those other graduates that are stepping out onto the first rung of the career ladder, there are three lessons in the show that I think are worth paying attention to. So, let’s get a shift on!
Create your own opportunities
One thing we can certainly learn from the Doctor is the ability to forge our own path and open almost any closed door. The Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver is a handy reminder of this. It’s also a great way to think about how to forge your way to the top of the career ladder, or even change your field entirely.
No matter what field you’re in, creating new opportunities can be essential to getting key experience under your belt. It demonstrates that you’re prepared to showcase your capability when it’s your time to shine.
If you’re looking to change careers altogether or go for a higher post, plan ahead and build the ground work so you’re ready when the right venture arrives. Whether that’s doing things in your current job like taking on projects, responsibilities or tasks, or instead pursuing a new hobby that demonstrates an interest outside of work.
For those especially seeking a higher position, in-house training, development opportunities, internal work shadowing or secondment schemes are a great place to start. Ask your HR department or management about what your organisation can offer.
Prepare yourself for leadership
Leadership is something else we can learn from the show. People around you will always require your help and expertise, something that is not always apparent if you’re still in a junior role.
Throughout the Doctor’s adventures through space, they are faced with difficult decisions. Whether it’s choosing who gets to live or die, or compromising personal beliefs to do what is necessary. For all you graduates out there, I hope your decisions don’t have to be as dramatic!
To take on a leadership role, you need to demonstrate grit and prepare to make tough decisions in a balanced and professional manner. You may not be able to please everyone, but good justifications can go a long way when keeping the atmosphere positive.
For those who are currently leading in your place of work, set a clear direction for your team. Whether it’s big or small or an entire department or organisation, values that produce a positive successful work ethic will also build trust.
Surround yourself with the right people
Where there is a Doctor, there is a companion! Donna, Rose and Clara have been some of my personal favourites (and of course I am absolutely loving Ryan, Yasmin and Graham in the new series). Each companion shapes who the Doctor is, and in your working life one of the best ways to learn and grow is from the people around you.
Whether you are the leader in the scenario or building team bonds, surround yourself with a variety of people and different types of personalities. People with different skills, experience, expertise and knowledge will bring a lot to the table for you personally.
It’s also overwhelmingly important to have people that can challenge your decisions or call you out when you are simply doing the wrong thing. This will help you become the best leader you can be.
Find people who will help you to see a problem in 3D. Different types of personalities will help you to see a variety of perspectives and opinions, which will in turn advise and inform your decisions. Value that advice and keep in mind that a mark of great leadership is taking responsibility. The buck stops with you.
Be your own Time Lord and venture on into the world of work!