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4/24/2004
00:54 AM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl
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Editor's Note: Your Challenge: Take The Initiative

When it comes to working in IT, there are two types of challenges: the one of finding a job and the other of trying to find challenge within your job. After a few years of layoffs and little, if any, raises, technology staffers and managers are seeing bigger paychecks, according to InformationWeek's annual salary survey. While some are still struggling to find a job, unemployment in the IT sector averages about 5.5%, slightly less than the national jobless rate.

The fear of layoffs has been replaced by other fears, such as outsourcing and the stress that comes from fewer resources and twice as much work. But, according to our survey, what's really on the minds of IT pros is whether they're finding enough job satisfaction. It's prompted some to turn down nice salaries to go back to school and others to seek training programs that bolster their skills.

As I was listening to Robert Kaplan, creator of the popular Balanced Scorecard methodology (see optimizemag.com/issue/028/management.htm for some of his latest work), at a conference last week, I started thinking about how some of his guiding principles for business could be applied to individuals who are looking for more challenges and better job satisfaction. One of his guidelines is that strategy needs to be part of everyone's job-not just senior management. Tell employees what the organization is trying to accomplish and give them a role to play in that strategy.

That's good advice when you consider how critical it is for human capital to be invigorated and excited as the economy continues to grow. But individuals, too, must accept that they're responsible for making themselves more relevant, more strategic, more innovative, better skilled, and willing and able to understand the business processes that will lead their companies to new opportunities.

Stephanie Stahl
Editor-in-chief
sstahl@cmp.com

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