Stop. I know that your normal day-to-day is crazy, you are overworked, underpaid and nobody really appreciates all of the fine things that you do. I get all that. My question for you is do you have any idea why you are doing what you are doing? What are you really working towards? If you don’t know, then perhaps now is the time to find out…
What Is Your IT Dream Job?
At the start of each year we all feel sorta guilty if we don’t come up with at least a few New Year’s resolutions. Generally these are quickly forgotten and we move on with the daily grind of life. However, if that’s all there is to life, then things pretty much suck. Wouldn’t you like to be one of those people who always seems to be happy and motivated – like they are working towards something?
Outside of getting a lobotomy or starting to take some happy pills on a regular basis, how can you become one of these “motivated” people? It’s actually rather simple, you need to have a goal. I’m not talking about one of those New Year’s resolutions in which you say that you want to lose 20 pounds or you want to start being nice to everyone. Nope, I’m talking longer term here.
I’m sure that you’ve all seen coworkers who put up pretty pictures of far-away beaches and fantastic locations all around their work cubes (maybe you do the same?) so that when things get bad (everyday), they can imagine that they are somewhere else. It turns out that they are on the right track.
To give yourself something to work for, you need to have a goal that you are working towards and the writer Marvin Walberg suggests that an IT dream job is as good of a goal as any.
Defining Your IT Dream Job
If you are going to be motivated to work towards a future IT dream job, then you are going to have to be able to visualize what that job looks like. Note that is different from how you are living your life right now!
Sure you could just sit back, shut your eyes for a bit and try to picture your dream job, but generally you just end up falling asleep when you do that. How about if we set some ground rules here to help you along?
First off, lets try to make this somewhat realistic. In your dream job you won’t be sitting on a golden throne getting foot massages while lower IT staffers feed you peeled grapes. Get over it. Instead of a visit to fantasy land, let’s try to keep things grounded in reality.
First, you need to come up with a job title – what would your dream IT job be called? This title does not have to currently exist – what would you like the job to be called?
Next, write down a job description. Yes you actually have to write it down or else there is no way that you are going to remember all of it. When you are describing the job you need to add as much detail to it as possible so that you’ll be able to create a vivid mental image of what you want.
Identify who you would be working for. Go ahead and identify who they would be working for. Not all IT dream jobs have you working as the CIO, lots of times we just want to have our own area to focus on and be left alone! Identify who would let you do that.
Who would you be working with? Who would be working for you? Give this some serious thought because often the other people in your work environment determine how much you like your job. It’s your IT dream job, so you get to pick who else is there.
Finally, describe a typical day at work in your IT dream job. When do you arrive at work (do you even go into work)? What is the first thing that you do? How many meetings do you go to? How long is your day? Once again include as many details as possible in order to make it play like a movie in your head.
What All Of This Means For You
We all picked the IT field to work in for a number of reasons. One of these was that it is a dynamic field – it’s always changing. Although at times this can be very frustrating, it also means that the future is not set in stone – we can still shape it.
In order to give yourself the motivation that it takes to be able to move forward with a purpose, you need to be able to picture what you are working for – your IT dream job should be part of this. The key is to sit down and spend the time to write down the details of exactly what that IT dream job would look like.
Once you are able to visualize it in your head, you can come back to your description over and over again in order to get reenergized. It’s this kind of daily motivation that will allow you to become a true IT Leader – you know what you want and you are working towards it.
Do you think that your department’s succession plan should be public knowledge?
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Isn’t it every IT Leader’s nightmare: you work long hours, pull of miraculous feats of IT project accomplishment in order to create one of the most complicated pieces of software ever, only to have all of your customers hate it?