Furward Momentum – Career Growth and Paying It Forward

Furward Momentum (Introduction)

  1. Building Your Support Network and/or Team
  2. Mapping the Technology Landscape
  3. Learning the Fundamental Skills
  4. Choosing Your Path
  5. Starting and Growing an Open Source Project
  6. Building Your C.V.
  7. Getting Your First Tech Job
  8. Starting a Technology Company
  9. Career Growth and Paying It Forward

At the start of this journey, you formed a small group. You studied together, planned together, and then worked together to build cool stuff in the service of your shared goals. Maybe you started a company together, or maybe you each pursued your first tech job at an existing company.

If you’ve reached this point, I hope two things are true:

  1. That you helped each other along the way.
  2. That you will never forget the people who helped you get to where you are today.

Of course, no matter which path you chose, this is but the beginning of your new career. A lot of the information and skills you’ve acquired throughout this series will come in handy with career growth.

Employees grow in their careers by gaining experience and seeking more lucrative opportunities–whether within their current employer or outside of it. In some regions and industries, it’s common (and even expected) for technologists to switch employers every six months, netting increasing compensation along the way. In others, rapidly changing jobs makes future job interviews a little awkward, to say the least.

Entrepreneurs grow in their careers by seeking new clients. There’s not much to say here that hasn’t already been covered.

By and large, the skills you’ve acquired to get where you are today will be instrumental in your career ambitions. There’s nothing more to teach, in this aspect.

Instead, I’d like to talk a little about what to do with our newfound success.

Long-Term Career Advice

Regardless of your chosen specialty or where you are in your career, the following are things I strongly believe will help you:

  1. We don’t live so that we can work, we work so that we can live.
  2. Respect your time, or no one else will.
  3. Companies that discriminate against queer identities and/or subcultures (including furry) don’t deserve our hard work. They only deserve to crash and burn.
  4. Only fools and trolls confuse kindness for weakness.
  5. Nobody ever got fired for asking clarifying questions before making a decision. If this is not true, you were working for the wrong company.

If you’ve read this series, put the suggestions into practice, and managed to develop a successful career out of my words, you don’t owe me anything. I ask that you instead pay the kindness forward to others.

Always remember: We don’t live to work, we work to live. Value your time and learn to say “no” more often than you might be comfortable with. Art by ScruffKerfluff.

Paying It Forward

If you become a successful technologist in the furry fandom, the best way to pay it forward is to help other people undertake a similar journey.

As you grow in your career, you will accumulate wisdom that even I do not possess. As you gain experience, try to make yourself available as a mentor for novices.

A lot of companies have Diversity and Inclusion initiatives with a substantial corporate buy-in. Most furries have LGBTQIA+ identities. Consequently, any of your time recruiting/mentoring other furries is well within the scope of many of those programs.

However, not everyone wants a career in technology (nor would our society be able to function without blue collar jobs; nor would the furry fandom exist without artists).

With that in mind, as a successful technologist, another way to contribute to the benefit of our community is to resist furry artists’ tendency to undervalue their own work.

Being A Good Art Patron

If it takes X hours to complete a piece of work, insist on paying at least $20/hour for that piece of art–regardless of quality. (In 2020 dollars. If you’re reading this in the future, be sure to adjust for inflation.)

Note: Don’t just tell artists to charge more! Actions speak louder than words. If you tell someone to do raise their prices, and your advice ISN’T accompanied by a generous tip, you’re being rather silly.

Thanks For Reading!

Soatok hugs a giant heart
Art by Swizz.

If this guide helps even one person improve their career prospects or start a successful business, then it will have been worth the time it took me to write it.

If this helps enough people, I will (in the future) update this section to include other people’s experiences–both struggles and successes–so that we can all learn from them.