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IT people: pay attention to your career!

By The IT Skeptic ·
I've been in the distressing situation of seeing good friends laid off. Even more distressing was when I saw it coming but never quite got around to talking to the friend in question because he was in a different city. I often wonder if I could have saved him that turmoil.

IT people often think that their technical knowledge makes them too valuable to sack, rather than understanding their business value. i.e. Joe sees himself as priceless while his boss sees him as useless :-)

So I highly commend to you these articles that appeared a while ago:
How Secure is Your Technical Career? ("As you get older, you get slower, uglier and more expensive.")
and Strategies For Securing Your IT Career ("If you are an IT technical person of increasing seniority (and cost), here are options for staying ahead of the layoffs.")

Please make sure you don't let this happen to you, or at the very least you see it coming and are prepared.

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Bit late with this aren't you?

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to IT people: pay attention ...

Anybody in our game who hasn't figured out stuff changes either started yesterday or they are Rip Van Winkle.

As for the new guys being better, well you are making me laugh, cheaper yes, better one in ten thousand, have to be an absolute natural.
Adding value is very hard to quantify, having the potential to, even harder, your salary no problem.

Nothing wrong with the presented options, but if some one decides to go with cheap, how good and how much value you add, doesn't matter for crap. Take a pay cut, if you really want to keep the job.

Best pieces of advice I can give after twenty years in the game.

Never confuse your job with your career.

It's your career, let someone else control it, you'll be worked 'til you drop and then sold to make glue.

The first thing that happens to the indispensable employee is management have a meeting on the the fastest way to get rid of them.

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People are still making this mistake

by The IT Skeptic In reply to Bit late with this aren't ...

Late? People still making this mistake, Tony. Everyone knows technology changes. What many don't realise is that technology isn't the game any more, service and process are.

And I agree the new kids may not be "better" depending on how you define it. The bosses see someone with twice the positive attitude, three times the energy, a tenth the knowledge and half the salary. How do they define "better"? depends on just how much knowledge and skill the boss needs to meet the minimum business requirement.

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More self defeating generaliations

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to People are still making t ...

I have n't lasted twenty years in this business by hiding in a cubicle masking my deficiencies.

UK based, no cublicle, the pople you describe wouldn't last a month in the UK.

As for energy and positive attitude, Management still have to tranquilise me on a regular basis.

I can do it better, faster, more robust, more extendable and more secure. I can put the hours in and I still enjoy it.

Anyone who needs my skillset and employs some wet behind the spoons graduate in place of me, simply can't add up.

The only real cost incentive would be if there wasn't enough work to occupy me full time.

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Good on you Tony

by The IT Skeptic In reply to More self defeating gener ...

Good on you Tony. I hope that continues to work for you.

It hasn't worked for at least ten colleagues that I can think of over the last five to ten years.

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Well they are still a bit raw...

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Good on you Tony

After ten years, I knew nothing worth mentioning.

Twenty years continuous employment in IT.

Young, old, this skill, that skill, degreed, certified, self taught.

Can you back it up and how far will you go in order to preserve your reputation for doing so.

Attitude is everything, good employers know that.

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I have seen the trend in the last few years

by The IT Skeptic In reply to Well they are still a bit ...

I don't think you got my drift. I'm saying I have seen the trend in the last few years of long-serving skilled people laid off because they lost sight of what the company valued as compared to what they thought was important.

personally i changed my first tape in 1978

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AMEN brother.

by Locrian_Lyric In reply to Bit late with this aren't ...

the higher-ups HATE the wunder-kinder with a white-hot passion.

Being one is the fastest route to the unemployment line.

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bosses like the smart hardworking guy who is grateful for a good job

by The IT Skeptic In reply to AMEN brother.

That's not quite what i meant. Nobody likes the "I learnt everything in university now let me tell you how" smart-***.

But in my experience bosses like the smart hardworking guy who is grateful for a good job, single and willing to be flexible about hours, has lower pay expectations, and hasn't (yet) developed an overblown sense of his own usefulness.

You don't make them your chief architect but you do make then understudy to your dba, sysop, net admin, developers, change mgr, level 2 techs etc getting ready to replace them. I've seen it.

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If you are expected to be grateful

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to bosses like the smart har ...

for a job, it isn't a good one.


Gratitude never lasts, expecting gratitude decreases it's longevity exponentially.

No wonder these people are choosing newborns, do they steal their candy as they come in the door?

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Workhorses make for good glue.

by Locrian_Lyric In reply to bosses like the smart har ...

...and not much else.

I made the mistake of being the workhorse once.

I had the shop running so efficiently that they decided they didn't need quite so many people...

buh bye Richard!

Not again.

I love my current job, I do great work, but I don't let stuff get pushed onto me.

There is another concern.

If you allow yourself to be the workhorse, you soon become another barnyard animal...

The scapegoat.

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