The High-Tech Career Handbook
|A weekly ComputorEdge Column by Douglas E. Welch|
April 2, 2004
** Listen to this column on your computer, iPod or other audio player **
Despite the complexity
of high-tech hardware, software and systems, it is often the simplest
issues that cause the most problems. This is true whether
you are troubleshooting a computer or trying to figure out what to do
with your high-tech career. Too often, complex ideas and systems can divert
us when most problems call for a little simple thinking. Before you start
tearing things apart, you need to ask a few simple questions.
Throw it out?
Sometimes when we are confronted with career
issues, we can leap to the most drastic response, like throwing out a
troublesome computer and buying a new one. A job isn’t working out,
so you quit and find another job. Unfortunately, this job is often no
better than the one you left. I have done this myself and seen countless
friends and acquaintances do the same. It seems to be a part of human
nature. Instead of “jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire”,
as the cliché goes, I would recommend a few moments of thought
about the simplest way you can solve your work problems.
Bigger questions, smaller
If you are questioning your entire career choice,
you might think that bigger, more complicated solutions are necessary.
In fact, there are often simpler answers available, if you start your
search there. While it can be difficult to change people’s perception
of you, I have seen many people move from a high-tech career to another
career and vice versa. There were accountants that discovered a knack
for computers and network managers who found that project management better
suited their skills and desires. I even know a former computer technician
who recently turned himself into an archivalist.
The first place to look for a new career is
probably right inside the company you are working for today. Start to
investigate other departments in your company, talk to people in those
departments. When you find something interesting, schedule a meeting with
the manager and discuss your desires. It is a simple truth that people
love to be asked for advice. Most managers will take the time to talk
to you about what it means to do “X” job and the career possibilities
involved. While you will probably want to look outside your company as
well, inside is often the best place to start your search.
The most important part of looking for a new job or career is to not let fear, anger or fatigue drive your search. It is always better to take some time to get your emotions under control. These emotions are often what cause us to make bad decisions at a time when they can do the most damage. Looking for the simplest solutions first can help you to reign in your emotions and keep a clear head about what you want, and need, out of your career.
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