A buddy of mine from my college days called up. We haven’t chatted in years. As we were catching up, he told me (obscuring details) that he’s living in a really nice area doing some work that he does enjoy, but he’s kind of in a rut. He wasn’t sure what to do, because that area doesn’t have a great job market, so he’d have to cut back significantly in order to get by with something else. I’ve been there. Here’s part of what I said:
Q: How many IT people does it take to fix an issue?
A: Before this week, 3. After this week, 4.
Just take it in stride:
In support roles, you’ll have people explain situations in ways in any means possible, whether it’s logical or completely absurd. The good support individual will keep a straight face, a “poker face,” translate the non-technical situation into technical terms, solve the situation, then move on to the next one. How do you practice your poker face in a professional environment?
I’ll often receive questions from people asking how I got to where I am today. They’ll ask how I know certain skills or they’ll ask the value of this certification or that degree. Most of the time it’s just idle daydreaming, but this afternoon, I had a question from someone that seemed genuinely motivated to change his course in life. Here’s the analogy I used:
The key to getting ahead in any job is to not rest on your laurels. I actually have a theory that being comfortable is actually the worst thing for your career. A comfortable job is also one where you’re not learning, growing, nor developing your career closer to the life you want to live. Comfort is stagnation.
Especially if you’ve been in the same job for a few years, you tend to forget how your first day in new digs is like. Here are some good tips I recorded during my first day of my most recent gig:
They’ll ask about your five-year plan in interviews, and while I have a good practical answer that involves where I saw myself five years ago, this question deserves more thought.