Don't let yourself be cast as the IT pro who's stuck, grumpy or complacent. Consider these midcareer moves.
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Here's an area where a trusted mentor can help. Regardless of your goals, Levy said midcareer IT pros must learn to have difficult conversations. That's true if you want to manage a growing number of people, for instance. People pose all sorts of thorny management challenges, and you'll need to be comfortable talking through them and negotiating positive outcomes. Learning to better communicate -- with a live human being, not just over IM or on a social site -- is also critical if you are already in the position you wanted all along.
It can be uncomfortable, for instance, to say, "I don't want a promotion," but you'll need to be able to communicate your desires in a constructive manner. "At some point, you [might] have to go to somebody and say, 'I'm happy where I am now -- I want to stay here, [but] that doesn't mean I want to become complacent in my performance,'" Levy said, adding that if your employer perceives that as weakness, that means you're working for the wrong employer. "You need to still have a performance discussion with somebody who can, for lack of a better role, protect your role."
One way to improve your speaking and communication skills: practice. Hold mock business conversations with family or friends that deal in awkward or problematic subjects.