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Thread: How to learn/study an industry?

  1. #1

    How to learn/study an industry?

    Hi everyone. Happy Holidays.

    I have a few years left in college and I figured that it's time to seriously analyze an industry, the competition, job market, how legal history has shaped it, the various firms/employers, and the like. How does one excel in any given industry? I reckon that it goes beyond just looking at your career prospects, sending out applications, and waiting until you get hired somewhere (like a lottery approach). I often hear that you will learn 80%-90% of what you need to know at your job, but I still don't want to go into uncharted territory fairly clueless. I don't just solely want to be good at my job/what I'm hired for, I also would like to ultimately understand all the ins and outs of the very sector. Learning 80%-90% of an industry, rather than just simply 80%-90% of how to do a job.

    In other words, I'm not looking to just be a "paycheck performer" if that makes sense. Thank you.
    "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever." - Founding Father Thomas Jefferson

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  3. #2
    What is your education geared towards?

    I know this will sound cliche', but the way you excel in an industry is not being afraid to get your hands dirty and learn. I worked as a Plant Supervisor over three different facilities with a company called Alko-Kober and I prided myself on the fact that there wasn't a single job in any of those buildings that not only did I know inside and out, but I could do them better than the employees.

    And my story at Alko is the best way to answer your question...

    I took a job as an $8 drill press operator in a machine shop where they built brake drums. The cell I was at produced around 1500 drums per shift, which meant I was double handling 1500 drums that weighed 75lbs each in a building with no AC at an old drill press that had me soaked from the waist down with machine coolant by 9am (luckily I had learned how to deal with trench foot in the Army). 16 months later I was moved to Elkhart, IN to their corporate facilities and handed the keys to the shop that handled all brake drum orders to include government contracts, brake lines which built parts exclusively for Mercedes Benz, and slide out which more than likely are on any RV you see that has slide out sides on it.

    I did that because when my equipment broke down instead of taking a break to smoke while maintenance worked on it like everyone else did...I stayed so I could learn how to fix it myself. That decreased my down times as well as increased my productivity. That lead to them giving me a raise and moving me to a CNC cell. Same thing...I learned about the machines themselves as well as the robots. So they sent me to get certified through FANUC. Then they sent me to get certified through HESSAP and OKUMA.

    Basically, I can't stand the thought of someone being better than me at anything so I made sure no one was. The only college I have is through courses while in the Army....but many a dude with his Masters or PhD called me "Sir".

    That's how you do it. Again...I know it's cliche', but there is a reason people still talk about hard work and taking pride in what you do.
    "Self conquest is the greatest of all victories." - Plato

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