Keep on keeping on

Until you are really ready to make the switch into a new position, how about loving the one you are with?

After a tumultuous decade in tech, as professionals in the industry went from valued to wooed to downsized, it’s no wonder that many are trying to keep their options open. Even people who have solid and seemingly stable jobs still post their info on job sites and glance through the help-wanted section every Sunday. And that’s as it should be–it pays to keep your options open and know what’s going on in the field.

But until you’re ready to really make the switch into a new position, how about loving the one you’re with? Sometimes, it’s easy to focus on where a career is going and what’s needed for that next company move. Too much of such thinking, though, could limit effectiveness and productivity in a current job.

It’s natural to contemplate changing workplaces as you begin to feel stagnation, but such a drastic step isn’t always necessary. Rather, sometimes it pays to look at your job’s limits and work on expanding them. That can create the job you want, with no switching needed. With that in mind, here are three ways to get more job satisfaction so you can stay off Monster.com:

Training track

Every professional knows that to stay sharp, training is vital. Not only are there shifts in the industry that require continuous education, but also, technology itself is changing so rapidly that just trying to stay on top of wireless standards is a feat.

Although time is always at a premium, it really is advantageous to go beyond the bare minimum in training. Keeping current on certifications is important, but so is staying ahead of the trends. Training to do wireless implementations when you’re already late in getting started with putting one in at your company is like trying to learn to land a plane when it’s on fire.

Check out the usual suspects for training, like CompTIA, to stay updated on what’s being offered. This will also give an indication of burgeoning tech directions, like home networking or Linux. In many cases, your company can foot all or some of the bill, since your edification benefits the business in the long run.

If they don’t see it that way, draw up a plan about what the training is, and how it can be used to make the company more cutting edge or, always enticing to the CFO, run more cost effectively. For example, a Linux certification could give you skills in building an open source server set-up. By laying out the total cost of ownership of the server over five years, you can show a notable ROI that gets you trained, and keeps your company happy that its employees are eager to sharpen their skills.

Business savvy

One of the largest trends in IT hiring has been finding professionals who can talk about strategy as well as wireless setups. The days of IT as an island are over, now that technology has become so integrated with all aspects of an enterprise. This means techies and suits are often one and the same.

If you don’t have management training, make sure you don’t miss out on future opportunities. Learn about different aspects of the business and what goes into them. Sometimes, this can involve nothing more than asking someone what they do. Such inquiries show that you’re interested in the company’s larger strategies and business, as well as giving you an idea where IT might fit into the larger picture.

It also wouldn’t hurt to talk to your supervisor about business training, which would include presentation courses. Learning to speak well in front of a boardroom full of executives is valuable indeed; not only will it give your department more clout, but it can help you personally in learning to express yourself clearly.

Expand your role

In combination with business skills come expanded responsibilities like management, financial planning, and strategy. Even in smaller companies, it’s beneficial to look at your current responsibilities and think about natural transitions and expansion. Often, this can take the form of simply considering how your position can benefit the companies in other ways.

A support specialist usually sees a career track of moving from troubleshooting to help desk management to IT administration and, with more business training, into a CIO role. Yet many companies need IT professionals who can make a contribution to all parts of the business, not just technology implementation. To make yourself more valuable, integrate your skills into the company beyond what’s usual.

For example, as well as doing standard troubleshooting, a support specialist could suggest user training based on common problems in the company. If there seems to be confusion and frustration surrounding new database tactics, IT can create a Web-based FAQ that boosts self-service. Not only will such strategies boost the specialist’s visibility inside the company, but it also will lessen support issues–something that makes everyone happy.

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