Keep Clear of IT Career Killers
Want to have a long and relatively satisfying career in technology? Here’s a list of 7 things to definitely avoid doing!
1- Don’t stay current.
There are lots of ways to fall into the comfort zone trap of allowing your skills to become dated. Simply taking your eye off the ball for a couple years can put you at some risk. Job security is not about a good relationship with your current employer. It does help, but in the end, your ultimate employability is about possessing market relevant skills. Having a great relationship with your current employer won’t necessarily help if they have to eliminate your position. You should have a great relationship with them, but if they are not offering opportunities to keep your skills current, they are placing your future earnings at risk. Work to persuade the decision makers that consistent investment in technology is an investment in the future of the company. If your efforts ultimately fall in deaf ears, get busy looking.
2- Move around…too much.
The best predictor of the future is the past. Consistently making a quick move for small tactical career advantages will soon place you in the high risk category and will ultimately do damage to your prospects with top employers. It frequently takes 6 months or more to fully come up to speed in a new role. Do the math from a hiring manager’s perspective. If you have a habit of moving every year or two, his investment in you will likely only be repaid for a very short time and then he’ll likely have to repeat the exercise. Not an attractive scenario. Move strategically in your career, but not too often!
3- Don’t build a network.
Top of your class? Smartest guy in the room? Guru/SME with unusual skills? Any of these are nice to have, but not if they inflate your view of yourself too much. Recognize the obvious. No matter how gifted you are, you need people. Take time to cultivate relationships with your co-workers. Stay in touch. You never know when you’ll find yourself needing a friendly face.
4- Don’t skills stack.
Sitting back on your current skillset, no matter how valuable, is a career mistake. More and more companies are stacking previously divergent skills into single role descriptions. They want people that can competently do several if not many things. Intelligently add to your skills tool box. Acquire new abilities that you can find a way to exercise in your current situation, inside or outside the office. Use it or lose it!
5- Don’t volunteer.
Consistently sitting on your hands when stretch challenges come up at the office is a mistake. If you have the bandwidth, take on a new project. You never know when it will be a door to your next career step.
6- Don’t take recruiter calls.
Check out the recruiter that is reaching out to you about options in the market. LinkedIn is a good tool for this. Have they been around for a while? Do they work in markets related to your experience? Call the good prospects back…even if you are not looking. You may be able to help a friend who may be in a better position to benefit from that search…a favor for which they will be grateful. More importantly, having an established relationship with a good recruiter will be very helpful for that time you are looking!
7- Don’t play nicely.
Find a way to be kind and pleasant to even the most challenging personalities at the office. You never know what they are dealing with outside or what experiences they’ve had to diminish their ability to interact in a healthier way. Douse that fire, don’t fuel it, taking a bad situation and turning it into an untenable one.