Saturday, March 12, 2016

Good Bye Old Job - One Year Later...

Today, about the time that this blog has been posted, will mark one year since the company that I had been working for decided to eliminate my position as the Director of Information Technology. It came as a shock – I knew that I had accomplished most of the projects that I had been hired to do, but I still had a number of things I wanted to do to improve the enterprise infrastructure and solidify the corporate office transition.  Alas, it was not to be.

Instead of bashing that company (which is never productive), I wanted to share some insights that I learned from that experience.  Maybe they will be helpful to you, or maybe not.  

Your job should not define who you are.  Especially in the IT universe, we (IT workers of the world) are given labels. And those labels come with an identity.  And for many, that identity becomes part of who we are as a person.  I don’t know why this is the case, but it usually is.  But as much as I enjoyed being an IT Director (I even had a t-shirt made – no kidding), it is / was not who I am.  Yes, I am a bit of a nerd, and I do like pretty much all things computers, and I did have a job as the IT Director for a cool company.  But I am also a Boy Scout, politically active and educated, a renowned burger expert and (according to my wife) a pretty decent husband.  I decided long ago that I work to live, and that I did not live to work.  I appreciate the comforts that a good job affords me, and I work very hard at the job.  But there is more to me and my life than to be “owned” by my job and my employer. If the job you have is more important to you than your family or living, maybe it is time to re-evaluate your priorities.

Your skills are yours – your employer rents them from you.  The IT Industry (as well as many other verticals) are filled with specialists – educated individuals that are often hired to fulfill a specific task or role within the company. In the IT realm, you may be a security specialist, a database administrator, or a project manager.  Sometimes, you may even be all three.  Whatever your particular skill set may be, it never hurts to be able to do more.  Most people have the dreaded “other duties as assigned” line somewhere in their HR approved job description.  I know many that hate when their boss / manager asks them to do something not within the confines or comfort zone of their usual tasks.  But you should always take the opportunity to improve and increase your marketable job skills – if / when you leave the company you are currently employed by, the skills and experience that you take with you are far and away the most valuable thing that you can take.  To that end, go to as many trainings as possible. Even if they are free online webinars, the company is paying you to learn something that will make you more valuable – initially to the employer. But also to the next employer.

A job is a job is a job. As great as your job was / is, it is only a job.  There are others exactly like it (more or less) if you look.  Chances are, the skills that you brought to your job are the same skills that another company is looking for.  Now, you have to find them.  Networking, social media, even those free conferences – all great ways to let others know about your skills and availability.  The job I Have right now came from letting my Facebook friends know that I was looking.  72 hours after that initial post, I was interviewing, and eventually hired.  I am incredibly grateful for that, but I also know that I am not alone.  While I don’t have statistics, an unbelievable majority of jobs are never posted, and are filled by word of mouth – a friend knows a guy who is looking for a guy that can do .  Don’t for a second think that you are not hireable.  There is a job out there waiting for you, almost regardless of the market conditions.  Keep looking, keep talking, and you will find the job (or the job will find you).

I could go on and on, but I hope these suggestions have been…interesting.

And to the company that let me go - I know how things have been going since I left.  I still talk to people, and follow the goings on at the company.  I wish you nothing but the very best!


Peter said...

Nice blog. My feelings exactly about employment generally.

Peter said...

Nice blog. My feelings exactly about employment generally.