Strategic CIO // Team Building & Staffing
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5/1/2008
06:30 PM
Rob Preston
Rob Preston
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Down To Business: Let Go Of The Past And Embrace Change

It can be unsettling, but those who seek out change will find that it creates more career paths than it cuts off.

Do you long for a simpler time? A time when employers were more loyal and nurturing, when employees were more professional, when technology and the work were more stable and predict-able, when markets and job functions were more clearly defined?

Either quite a few of us have selective memories of how wonderful things used to be or we underestimate the value and virtue of what we have now. Certainly, our professional and personal lives are much more complicated than they were a decade or two or three ago, but we live in the most exciting of times. The world of business technology is no exception.

Data center automation, Web 2.0 collaboration, virtualized computing, the proliferation of open source software and consumer devices and applications, IT and business process outsourcing, information life-cycle management, software as a service, and many other new technologies and technology approaches are reshaping the IT landscape. In the Internet cloud, we see the potential for a handful of utility-like providers to redraw the boundaries of the business technology organization. Some of us tend to view such innovations, especially those that marginalize certain skill sets, as threats. Resist that temptation.

No question, change--especially the accelerated pace of change we're all experiencing--can be unsettling, overwhelming, and even frightening. If it's any comfort, this inexorable change is a fact of work in every industry, from financial services and entertainment to health care, media, and even academia.

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Yet for all the turbulence, the IT profession soars forward. For those who seek out and embrace change, it will create many more career paths than it cuts off.

So instead of recalling the halcyon days of yesteryear, figure out how you can become indispensable to your company and IT organization by becoming the resident expert on data center automation, Web 2.0 collaboration, virtualized computing ...

Glorifying the past is human nature. We see it in our sports culture, where the stars of today, the likes of A-Rod and LeBron, are said to pale in comparison to Mays and Mantle, Bird and Magic--despite all the advances in nutrition, training, and conditioning. Likewise, in your business technology organization, how many times have you thought or heard that today's youth don't have the grit and ambition of prior generations?

Do we really buy this nostalgia? From my experience, the teens of today work harder and have more on the ball than those in my day (the '70s). The future looks bright in their hands. These same business technology managers who lament the passing of a near-perfect time are the ones who still pine for the VAX, OS/2, WordPerfect, and other relics that perished or were put out to pasture for a reason. These same managers look upon data center automation, Web 2.0 collaboration, virtualized computing, etc., with a sneer.

If you find yourself in that camp, remember why you got into the technology business in the first place. More likely than not, it wasn't because it's safe and straightforward.

Rob Preston,
VP and Editor in Chief
rpreston@techweb.com

To find out more about Rob Preston, please visit his page.

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