Can I Be More Proactive Instead Of Reactive?

Question:

I work in a Data Center that is going to a Lights Out Data Center, meaning they won’t need as many people. Also it means we need to move into other areas of the contract. That requires training or else. While some are finding new positions, I am reluctant to want do anything, after 15-20 years in the same area basically doing the same thing. The boss’ view is he wants people to be in the fast lane, going around, over, under any and all hurdles. He encourages college classes, on the job training, etc. but basically his bottom line is: if we don’t move, we’ll get left behind. I know I need to upgrade some my job skills to stay competitive, but I still feel like I don’t know what I want to do. Time is of the essence. Management is pushing us to come up with career plan and to move in on it, and go from there. My problem is I don’t know what area or areas to concentrate on and I don’t have a career plan. I have I communicated this to the boss, but, but he still said it’s up to me where I will end up. What do you think? I’ll appreciate your response.

Signed,

Without A Plan


Answer:

Dear Without A Plan:

Do you think your boss is saying you might not be one of those who will be employed in Lights Out Data Center? Whatever he is trying to say, he has you worried. He has prodded you to develop skills that will add value to your Data Center. How can you do that?

1. Open your eyes to what skills are currently required in your center. Learn those that you do not have now. Informally talk with your co-workers about their work. If you owned the Data Center, what would you do if you owned it to make it more profitable? 2. Put yourself in the shoes of the internal and/external customers of your Data Center serves. Talk to those people and learn from them what are their needs and how you might make their jobs easier and more effective. 3. Join data a processing association. Almost every occupation has a local and national professional association. Read their magazines. Think of your self as an explorer. What is new in data processing? You say that you’ve been doing pretty much the same thing for 15-20 years. How has your field changed? Almost every community has continuing education offerings. Study the catalogs. Apparently your boss will not tell you want to do. Perhaps he does not know how to advise you, but he does have a feeling that he needs people who are motivated to improve themselves and the business.

Pretend for a moment that you are a dance instructor. Think of yourself as someone who was teaching the same waltz dance steps that you learned 15 years ago and now must compete with young dancers who know the rumba, fox trot, quick step, swing, cha-cha? Either you are eager to improve your worth to your employer or you will be replaced. It might also be wise for you to do a job search. What kinds of jobs are out there? What skills do you need if you were applying?

A career path is something you must make for yourself. Will you? Almost everyone will have to retrain several times in her/his lifetime. You now are at that point in time.

P.S. One of our guest respondents with a computer business adds some additional suggestions: Sorry to be so slow to reply! I am way behind on email but have finally caught up with you. It would help to know more about what this requestor is currently doing,but it sounds like he’s an operator of some kind. If she/he’s an operator, he needs operations training for Unix/LINUX , Windows Server, Networking, and perhaps other areas specific to his company. Alternatively, if she/he’s an admin, he needs training in admin for Unix/LINUX, Windows Server, Networking, and perhaps other areas specific to his company. If he’s a programmer, he needs to be as many as he can of the following: web-enabled: conversant with many of: HTML, Javascript, server-side scripting, XML, Java, AJAX. database-enabled: conversant with at least one form of SQL. company-enabled: conversant with other areas specific to his company. If he needs ideas about what are needed in the job market, he can visit the job websites to see. Am not sure what else to tell this fellow beyond to say that he himself has identified the biggest issue here: that he “doesn’t know what he wants to do”. Everything else in the situation derives from this decision, or the lack of one.

Hope this helps!

Best regards. mitch theophila/MGT Computer Solutions http://www.mgtcs.com

Bill Gorden & Mitch Theophilia