"Beta" is the experimental, developmental stage of a software package. It's the time during which you are experimenting with what does and doesn't work, learning about the capacities of the software, tweaking it, getting input on how to make it better, faster, more effective, more efficient. During the beta phase, you're looking at how the package can bring value to customers, getting feedback on how well it works and how to improve it.
There was a time when we could see our careers as a sort of "finished product." We could go into maintenance mode, resting on our laurels. At a minimum, we could be reasonably secure that if we kept doing what our companies asked us to do, we could count on some level of job security. Those days are gone.
In a world where companies and organizations are asking on a regular basis about the value you bring, we all live in perpetual beta mode. Every day we have to ask ourselves, how are we tweaking what we do? How are we developing the skills and knowledge we bring to the table? How are we creating value?
Perpetual beta can be stressful, but it can also be exhilerating.
What are you doing to manage a career that's in perpetual beta?