Every IT Manager Needs To Have A Career Blueprint

IT managers need to take an active role in managing their career plans
IT managers need to take an active role in managing their career plans
Image Credit:
Javier Arce

Congratulations, you’ve got a job. Now, let’s talk about what happens next. There are a lot of different ways that this can play out. Perhaps you come into work one day and decide that this job now bores you and that you’d like to get a new one. Or perhaps your boss calls you into his / her office and lets you know that the company has come up with a way to save money that no longer involves you. No matter what causes it, change is going to come your way. You’re not going to be ready for it if you haven’t taken the time to use your IT manager skills to create a career blueprint.

Your Job Is Too Small

So it turns out that the size of the job that you are currently doing really does matter. If it turns out that it’s too small, you are never going to be happy doing it. What you need to do is every so often do a quick double check on your current job. Is it fully engaging you? While you are performing your job do you find that your mind is wandering to other things. If it is, then this may be a clue that your current job is too small for you.

What you are going to have to do is to make sure that you set aside some time every so often to have a discussion with yourself. Your needs are always going to be changing as you get more and more IT manager training, what you are going to want to ask yourself is if your job is still meeting your current needs and interests. Every job has some things that you’ll enjoy doing and things that you don’t like doing. What you need to do is to identify both groups so that you’ll know what to look for in your next job.

You Don’t Want To Plan Your Career

As an IT manager, your days are probably full. You’ve got a team to manage, goals to achieve, and a lot of different things that seem to asking for your attention. This is why it can become all too easy to do a poor job of telling other people about all of the great things that you’ve been able to accomplish. No, we not talking about bragging, you just want to have the ability to let people know what you’ve been able to do.

There is a name for this, it’s called career inertia. This is what happens to an IT manager when they don’t know how to do a good job of telling others about all of the things that they have been able to accomplish. All too often this can start to cause us to experience anxiety and perhaps even depression. We need to get better at communicating our accomplishments to others so that when we get ready to advance our career, we’ll be able to tell others what we’ve done.

You’ve Stopped Being Special

Each and every one of us is special in some way. You have a set of skills that nobody else has. All too often in our careers we become known in our workplace for having a set of skills or for playing a particular type of role. What then happens is when people ask us what we do, we use these old identifiers to describe ourselves. The end result of this is that people will never know about our new achievements or any new skills that we’ve picked up along the way.

What we need to do is to get good at telling other people what we do. One way to go about this is to get a coworker to tell us what they do and then tell them an updated version of what we do. Another good idea is to keep what is called a “career journal” where you write down all of the projects that you’ve worked on, your updated objectives, and any new certifications that you’ve achieved. Doing this will allow you to collect in one place all of the stories that highlight your strengths, team work, and leadership abilities.

What All Of This Means For You

As IT managers we are the one and only person who is in charge of our career. It can be all too easy to get caught up in a lot of different things that cause us to forget about moving our career forward. What we need to do is to take the time to create a career blueprint so that we’ll know the correct way to move forward. Think of this as being a personal form of IT team building.

The first part of creating a career blueprint is to take a look at the job that we currently have. Is it possible that it may be too small for us? While we are working, do we find ourselves dreaming about doing other things? If so you may need to determine what you both like and don’t like about your current job as you start to search for your next job. A number of us don’t really want to take the time to map out our career blueprint. When this happens we are experiencing career inertia. We need to start doing a better job of communicating what we’re working on to others. How we describe what we do can get stuck in the past. We need to start to keep a career journal and then practice telling other people what we are currently working on.

You are the person who cares the most about your career. This means that when it comes time to create a career blueprint, it’s going to be up to you to create it. Take the time to look at your current job and then use what you learn to determine what you’d like your next step to be. You can build a better future for yourself, you just need a career blueprint to do it!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: If your current job is too small, can you think of any way to make it larger without having to switch jobs?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Just in case you have somehow not gotten the message, if you want to build the best IT team that will be able to help you succeed in your career, you are going to want to use your IT manager skills and make it as diverse as you possibly can. Having all of those people with different backgrounds ensures you that you’ll get the different opinions and solutions that a team needs in order to be successful. However, there’s a problem here. The hiring process that you use is broken – it has bias built into it and you’ll never get the diverse employees that you so desperately need. What’s an IT manager to do?