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12/27/2015
11:06 AM
David Wagner
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10 New Year's Resolutions For IT Pros

It's time again for New Year's resolutions. Here are 10 ideas for how you can live a happier life and have a better career in the coming year.

11 Things Computer Users Will Never Experience Again
11 Things Computer Users Will Never Experience Again
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Every year, many Americans make a New Year's resolution. Chances are, IT Pros are among them. But just like everyone else, you are probably making resolutions to lose weight or work out more. Those are great, but I've also got some suggestions for resolutions that are maybe a little more fitting for an IT pro.

I've got a mix of ideas that I think will make you happier, better at your job, and help you advance your career. Of course, I'm not expecting you to make all 10, but a few of these really ought to be in your plan for the New Year. Take a look at the list:

10 New Year's Resolutions For IT Pros

1. Dust off your resume. Even if you are happy at your job, looking for a new job is good practice to keep your interview skills sharp for when you do want to leave. It also helps you get an idea of what skills are in demand so you can increase your skillset. Plus, this is a surprisingly good time to look for a job.

[ And consider these career resolutions. Read 6 IT Career Resolutions. ]

(Image: Aluetie/iStockphoto)

(Image: Aluetie/iStockphoto)

2. Say "thank you" and mean it. According to this article by Dr. Christine Carter of the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center, "thank you" can be very powerful. "My favorite happiness booster," writes Carter, "is to give thanks: to a higher power for the abundance that surrounds me; to my dad for taking my kids to ice cream; to my husband for all the ways he makes me giggle." And really, who wouldn't rather work in a place where truly appreciating each other is the norm? Start a wave of gratitude and appreciation yourself.

3. Go to the bathroom. A recent survey of 617 adults working at companies of 500 employees or more conducted by Workfront and Harris Poll showed that 52% of those taking the survey had delayed going to the bathroom in order to make a deadline. And among those respondents, 21% said they did so five times per week or more. This simply does not seem like a happy job situation. The company's stock really won't go down if you take time out to tinkle.

4. Kill something every day. Virtually. Please only kill virtually, but do it. Video gaming can reduce stress. And sometimes getting your frustrations out on virtual people is so much better than yelling at your co-workers. Of course, if killing isn't your thing you can always try crushing some candy or something. But I just think Stormtroopers die in a more stress-reducing way than candy.

5. Treat Gen Z, those born between 1994 and 2010, better than you treat Millennials. All the fuss about Millennials is about to go away, because believe it or not, next year, a new generation enters the workforce. We don't have a name better than Gen Z yet (though MTV is trying "Founders"). The oldest Gen Z folks are seniors in college. You have just a few months to resolve to tolerate them before they invade.

6. Be a maker. 3D printing, a changing economy toward open source and algorithms, and a number of other factors seem to be pointing to a maker economy. Nothing is more suited to the IT pro than this. It is literally the way Silicon Valley was founded -- in a few garages where geeks toiled away on big dreams.

7. Learn to love robots. Gartner predicted 3 million people will be managed by a robot or AI by 2020. Gartner may or may not be right about the timing, but this is happening. Learn to welcome our new robot overlords.

8. Try to feel like this rabbit. Try it. At least once per week. You deserve it.

9. Stop living life through your phone screen. Obviously, this is cultural thing, and to a certain degree, an age thing. But nothing saddens me more than going to a live concert or event and watching most of the crowd holding up their phone through the whole thing. You are there. You paid a lot of money to be there. The event is always available later on YouTube. Some fool other than you will record it. Be the guy who sees it in real life first and let some other fool make a small screen copy for you to see later.

(Image: PongsakornJun/iStockphoto)

(Image: PongsakornJun/iStockphoto)

10. Learn an old programming language. Try Cobol. Or another language, even if you are 20. Having knowledge of an older language can sometimes be very lucrative. More importantly, getting in touch with the roots of your profession is never a bad thing. Imagine if you designed cars for a living, but you had never seen a Model T or a '57 Chevy. Would you be better or worse at your job?

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David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio
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Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
12/27/2015 | 1:52:57 PM
xkcd ftw
Randall Munroe has a rebuttal to the sentiment of #9 here: https://xkcd.com/1601/
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
12/28/2015 | 3:51:01 AM
Jobs
"happy at your job, looking for a new job is good practice to keep your interview skills sharp for when you do want to leave. It also helps you get an idea of what skills are in demand so you can increase your skillset. "

David, if you need a job or not, keep on attending the job interviews once in 6-8 months is a good idea. This will helps to know what's the current market requirement and how we can scale against the current demands. Based on such outcomes once can take initiative to improve themselves because in volatile job market your company can sack you at any moment.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
12/28/2015 | 11:28:03 AM
Re: Jobs
It also makes sense to be continuously updating your LinkedIn profile and other online personal branding.  That way, your employer and co-workers don't become suspicious when you out-of-the-blue begin totally revamping these things when you're actually and actively on the hunt for a new position.
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
12/28/2015 | 1:42:44 PM
Re: Jobs
this is vbery good advice -- 

>> It also makes sense to be continuously updating your LinkedIn profile and other online personal branding.  That way, your employer and co-workers don't become suspicious when you out-of-the-blue begin totally revamping these things when you're actually and actively on the hunt for a new position.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
12/28/2015 | 5:27:23 PM
Re: Jobs
I think leaving away from the computer screen is excellent it could be applied to looking fo  new job.  Try to attend your school alumni event or meet with a person of a industry of interested.  A person will gain a lot of insight by talking to them in person instead of trying to constantly emailing them or communicating via online chat.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
12/28/2015 | 10:11:39 PM
Re: Jobs
I think IT people should be doing something new this year. Stepping out of their comfort zone. Also I think IT companies (not those in the leagues of Google and IBM) should increase the basic pay of people working there and also increase their work quality by doing away with petty politics and in house games. The real Game of Thrones happens at your workplace.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
12/30/2015 | 1:37:07 PM
Re: Jobs
with the high cost of living increasing anywhere, giving people a raise is an excellent idea. I know in the north east. The price of rent and public transportation is going up almost every year and salaries remain stagnant.  People are politic animals, unless we can replace our colleges with robots( at least the bad ones), we need to prepare to at least survive in games of thrones workplace.
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2015 | 11:04:53 PM
Re: Jobs
@Pedro. I agree. Everyone deserves a raise this year.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
12/28/2015 | 10:13:20 PM
Re: Jobs
@Pedro: indeed. People (especially IT people) should cherish the time they spend with other people.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
1/11/2016 | 11:19:18 PM
Re: Jobs
"I think leaving away from the computer screen is excellent it could be applied to looking fo  new job.  Try to attend your school alumni event or meet with a person of a industry of interested.  A person will gain a lot of insight by talking to them in person instead of trying to constantly emailing them or communicating via online chat."

Pedro, face to face communication has better effect than either email or telephonic conversation. When you talk to a person by looking to his/her face, you can have  personal touch and express the feelings in full sense with emotions. The same for response from other end too.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
12/28/2015 | 1:10:55 PM
Re: Jobs
Not so sure I understand this one. The only feedback you'll ever get you interviewed OK was if they offer you a job. You may have been fine, they just hired someone else who they felt was better fit. Or you wore the wrong tie.

To me, interviewing falls under the classic Judge Judy comment: If you tell the truth, you don't have to have a good memory.

Being a great interview but an incompetent fool at your job probably won't work out too well in the long run. And if your communication skills are so poor you can't interview well, that is also going to catch up with you in the long run.

 
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
12/28/2015 | 10:16:04 PM
Re: Jobs
@terryB: communication skills can be worked around. This year IT people should be more free minded and leave their crappy job and seek out newer forms of jobs that should give their their peace of mind. This is the age of startups and we need more startups and more competition to increase the technology base.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
12/29/2015 | 9:53:22 AM
Re: Jobs
@sachinEE, not all jobs are crappy. Life at smaller business units can be wonderful. My "boss" is in Mississippi (I'm in Green Bay), I have no people reporting to me anymore and the code here is all stuff I wrote and maintain. I get in about 8:15am after getting my daughter off to school and leave about 3-3:30pm Mon-Fri. Paid well and in the same Key Managers bonus program our President is in.

Tell me again why I should go work 50-70 hours a week at a startup in the faint hopes it might be the next Facebook?  Besides, I'm way too old for that, been doing this since 1985. Barring a complete disaster, I won't ever be interviewing again.  :-)
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2015 | 11:00:11 PM
Re: Jobs
@Terry: The stress level for startup employees is almost the same as what most IT companies force on newbies of the IT game. When I was in my 20s I used to work 72 hours a week. Now I work 40 hours. I want to move to Finland for they have a rule of work hours under 40 hours per week. I think it's Finland.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
1/11/2016 | 11:24:09 PM
Re: Jobs
"To me, interviewing falls under the classic Judge Judy comment: If you tell the truth, you don't have to have a good memory. Being a great interview but an incompetent fool at your job probably won't work out too well in the long run. And if your communication skills are so poor you can't interview well, that is also going to catch up with you in the long run."

Terry, if you don't have all such (technical & communicative) shills then you won't be able to through the interview process and it's totally wastage of time. But if really interested, these factors can be taken as a feedback for further improvement.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
12/28/2015 | 10:18:55 PM
Re: Jobs
@Gigi3: I agree. A friend of mine who is a senior developer would always visit interviews for developers and see what questions they are asking. He has an extremely satisfactory job and I don't see him leaving it anytime soon but the way he keeps himself updated that incase he leaves the job, he wouldn't have to have a training in a programming language to even be eligible for an interview.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
1/11/2016 | 11:26:24 PM
Re: Jobs
"I agree. A friend of mine who is a senior developer would always visit interviews for developers and see what questions they are asking. He has an extremely satisfactory job and I don't see him leaving it anytime soon but the way he keeps himself updated that incase he leaves the job, he wouldn't have to have a training in a programming language to even be eligible for an interview."

SachinEE, I think most of the enthusiastic peoples used to do like this. Sometimes it can have a bargain power too with your employer at the time of annual appraisal for better package. 
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
12/30/2015 | 1:27:57 PM
3. Go to the bathroom
I am continuously guilty of this.  I always think - just 5 more minutes to get this or that done, then I'll go.  As a matter of fact, I did the same while sitting here reading this article!  Off to the loo!
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
12/30/2015 | 9:45:17 PM
Re: 3. Go to the bathroom
vnewman, a bit tmi ; ) Scary for me was the idea of the Gen Z people entering the workforce. If we thought millennials were entitled and hyper-ambitious (in many cases without warrant), wait til you meet these kids. Kidding, kidding! I am sure they will bring a welcome breath of creativity and energy to the workplace.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2015 | 1:10:26 PM
Re: 3. Go to the bathroom
@Broadway - I have an even worse, even greater TMI story for you, if you're interested. At my last firm, the bathroom was located way over on the other side of the floor from the IT department. Everyone in the department had their own office and in each office lived one large potted plant/tree. One of the guys started using the tree soil as his urinal so he didn't have to leave his desk (he was a db admin) - you wouldn't believe the smell a tree emits when someone does this over the course of time. It got so bad he tried to move the tree to another location but the cleaning lady kept moving it back to his office. I think she knew what he did and wanted him to suffer a bit. Eventually he dumped it outside in a back alley - probably for some homeless person to go on. True story.
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2015 | 11:03:38 PM
Re: 3. Go to the bathroom
@Vnewman: that is the best thing I have read it this new year. But such things are really common. An employee used to bring a portable urinal to work. We used to laugh at him and make jokes about him and used to avoid him because we thought he was unhygienic. In the end he was the one who got promoted with a huge office and a bathroom attached to it.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
1/7/2016 | 8:32:31 PM
Re: 3. Go to the bathroom

@SunitaTO    That is unbelievable !   Did your company think he was ultra committed due to this portable urinal ?  

Apparently so,  and if it means a promotion and your own office with a bathroom.

 

Where can we buy one ?   : ) 

Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
1/7/2016 | 8:28:24 PM
Re: 3. Go to the bathroom

@vnewman2     That is the most hilarious recount I have heard in quite a while - thanks for the laughs !     It was just in time.

Needless to say, that guy should be ashamed of himself.  I have (had) never heard of such a thing.

vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
1/8/2016 | 3:05:09 AM
Re: 3. Go to the bathroom
@Technocrati - it's so bizarre it almost belongs in a movie a la Office Space. By far the craziest example I know of "I'm too busy to take a bathroom break!" Glad you enjoyed it!
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
1/7/2016 | 8:36:18 PM
Re: 3. Go to the bathroom

@Broadway   Who comes up with these monikers ?   Gen X, Millennials and now Gen Z.  

Enough already !   Reminds me of all the talk about "Big Data" .

 

One word:  Rubbish.

Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
1/7/2016 | 8:39:25 PM
Re: 3. Go to the bathroom

"...If we thought millennials were entitled and hyper-ambitious (in many cases without warrant), wait til you meet these kids. Kidding, kidding! I am sure they will bring a welcome breath of creativity and energy to the workplace."

 

@Broadway   Since when have you become so PC ?   

You and I know that this Gen Z will be just as worthless as all the rest of the generations before them.  

nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Ninja
12/30/2015 | 7:05:02 PM
Let some other fool
I really like the advice of letting some other fool record it. Likes. Likes. Makes perfect sense to enjoy the moment. I can't understand the value of learning an old programming language. I thought newer was better.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
1/7/2016 | 3:08:39 PM
New Year's Resolution # 1

Almost missed this piece - really enjoyed it as usual David.  

I really like the number one resolution which I hadn't thought about - dusting off the old resume.  

I am working now but who knows what tomorrow brings and if history is any indicator - a layoff is just around the corner.

 I'll work on it this weekend.

Happy New Year EveryOne !

Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
1/7/2016 | 8:22:43 PM
The Two Most Forgotten Words

Number Two is also something that would go a long way.  Simply saying "please" and "thank you".

For those who don't use these two phrases often, give it a try - you will be surprised at the results.

And maybe, just maybe using these terms will catch on and become commonplace again.

Please.  

Thank You.

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