Everyone thinks IT Management is this lucrative unattainable thing that they can dream about but not ever really snag. Well folks, that’s just simply not true. But what is does take isn’t hard work, but SMART work.
See I started my IT career when I realized that I couldn’t be the real-life Lara Croft and find the rarest, most sought after treasures of the world. I went to school in pursuit of that very dream. My naive self thought Cystic Fibrosis wouldn’t hit me like it had hit others; my whole life until that point I had pretty much avoided the complications that came along with it. What archaeology required of me was non-stop travel, and thousands of hours of on-site hands on experience. Lara Croft didn’t have Cystic Fibrosis; a very harsh reality that shook me to the core. So I had to reinvent myself. And that I did.
What started off as junior level web design, landed me here… at Program Director level, hell more like CEO level because I did run a very successful consulting practice for 14 years. And that wasn’t because I worked hard for it… don’t get me wrong I did put in the hours no doubt about it. But I worked SMARTER! By that I mean I questioned everything, and sought answers to all the problems that came my way. I didn’t just sit in front of talented managers and vice presidents trying to sell them something, I learned FROM them. I would ask questions about what they did in the day to day and what pain points they had. I wrote is ALL down! Or would record the sessions with (wait for it) my micro-cassette recorder.
So my education in IT came through those people, from the project manager I worked as junior web designer under to the CEO of a major banking corporation. That’s what I mean by working smarter. You have to approach every project with the attitude of “what can these people teach me”…. and yes even sometimes you end up on the other side of that coin. With a chance to teach someone that’s hungry enough for it something you’ve learned.
I can say that I learned so much from the team I was honored to be a part of at CA. On the top of that list, I would say I learned the most from Joseph Velliah. Boy, when I say he is super talented, I don’t do it enough justice… he’s incredible. And he HUNGERS for knowledge from his peers. I know he must of learned at least a few things from me as well. Super exceptional architect… if he’s not doing software architecture and leading a development team as manager, they are SEVERELY under utilizing him.
Alex Geslani is another one that I learned a lot from. When you come across someone that’s humble and super chill yet unbelievably talented… wow. That’s a hard combo to come by! Alex has that in droves… if he’s not leading a network management team, again he’s under utilized. His ability to look at a system and find the BEST most EFFECTIVE way to run it against a set of business requirements is bar none boys… bar…. none. And that also comes from his ability to not just hear his co-workers out, but LISTEN. Really listen.
And Chrystie Seidl, who honestly could have done the VP job over and over again three times around, backwards, with her eyes closed. She also learned quite a bit from the people around her. I know she learned a lot with me (not just from me) when it came to navigating working with someone with a grave illness like Cystic Fibrosis. There were times we both cried on the phone over how tough it was to be stuck in a hospital. Give that girl a medal, I say because not only did she have me to deal with but there were two members of her team dealing with terminal chronic illnesses.
This is basically the real problem in IT. Yeah you may see these incredible salaries and the job postings out there, but there is so many people that apply to those jobs that it is overly saturated. So talented people that otherwise should be in those roles are having to take lesser jobs that under utilize their talents because… you guessed it… they have to feed their families. It’s that simple.
So IT management in today’s world is flooded by people that probably shouldn’t be there, and have people reporting to them that could literally run circles around them and then some. Everyday we see thousands of IT jobs being posted on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, etc. but there are hundreds of people applying to each post. So what can we do?
To be honest? Nothing. This is how it’s going to be in our future. Technology companies are popping up left and right, so there will be job postings thrown left and right. But how likely are these new companies going to have the longevity of some of the bigger names in IT like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon? Not much. Unless we start coming out with exceptionally unique technology.
That’s where we should come together to get our own small businesses. Those of you applying for lesser jobs, go ahead do what is needed to feed your families but don’t pour your heart and souls into that work. Instead grab you other talented buddies and start something of your own! That would be working SMARTER, for sure. #BeYourOwnBoss #WorkSmarterNotHarder