- Don’t Stop Learning
- Don’t Stop Caring
- Don’t Stop Documenting
- Don’t Stop Looking
- Don’t Stop Talking
So looking at that list you’re probably thinking… What? Let me explain.
Dictionary.com defines stagnation a state or condition of stagnating, or having stopped, as by ceasing to run or flow. This is a real world scenario for many IT professionals today. There’s a good reason this happens as well. Far too many IT organizations become complacent with their way of doing things, and have successfully trained employees to be complacent as well. Usually these scenarios equate to a declining business, low revenues, unhappy investors and so on.
Unfortunately, the world doesn’t stop just because you’ve taught employees to reboot if something doesn’t work, or to deal with slow access to database servers. There’s probably something wrong that could be corrected with proper troubleshooting, or perhaps you’re using an outdated connectivity method, network device, database protocol, etc… How can you fight back agains’t IT Stagnation?
Don’t Stop Learning
Continuing your professional education can fight IT stagnation. How so? As connections are made in the brain, you’re likely to become excited with the technology you’re learning and desire to put that knowledge into practice. Who wants to learn something and then never use it? Not many! So by learning about new technologies like SDN, NFV, Overlays, Orchestration, and the likes, you’ll combat IT Stagnation at a personal level.
Don’t Stop Caring
The last time an end user asked you something, did you actually pay attention? It reminds me of the TV show, The IT Crowd, where in one episode they had an answering machine ask the end user if they’ve tried turning it off and on again. Do we default to that a little too quickly these days? If so, maybe we should try to listen to the end user, understand how it’s creating friction in their workflow, and try to help get rid of that friction. If IT is source of friction to the business it’s failing.
Don’t Stop Documenting
Remember the notes you used to take when you started out? When was the last time you took notes and documented a feature that you found, a knob you turned, or a capability you heard about? If it’s been a while, perhaps you should rethink. Writing down and documenting your network as well as configurations, technologies and protocol values makes use of additional senses and creates another avenue of learning and memorization that can assist in thwarting the evil clutches of stagnation.
Don’t Stop Looking
So you found that perfect topology/switch/protocol/whatever? Really? Nobody on the planet does it better? Nobody has another way to look at it? Keep looking. Stay in tune with developments in the industry. How? RSS, Twitter, Mailing lists, probably in that order. I recommend using Pocket to start tagging your library of discoveries. Use an RSS reader like Feedly to subscribe to the RSS feed of various sites targeting data networking and review them daily. It still boggles my mind to hear of people or talk to people who don’t know what RSS is. Again, it goes back to the common theme of learning, creating new connections in the brain, and stimulating excitement in what you do. What now stagnation?
Don’t Stop Talking
Don’t stop talking to peers about technology. It will help to stimulate them as well as yourself. When you get more people onboard with what you’re doing and what your learning about it creates a buzz in the work environment and again fights off the tendencies to become complacent and stagnant in what you do.
IT is a fast moving business. Things change rapidly and offer many avenues to explore and create. IT shouldn’t be an area of stagnation. IT should be the excitement. Sure Apps have the corner on that market right now. But pull the network plug and see how many people loose excitement in FarmTown and suddenly become excited in the network and how it operates. You have an amazing opportunity to get involved with the data networking community today, like never before. Just don’t settle for becoming stagnant in a river thats rushing by you.