How Secure is Your IT Technical Career?: Page 2

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What to Do About It

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A cameraman and his assistant were filming lions on the veldt. The alpha male got annoyed and started taking a noticeable interest in them. The cameraman filmed on, then noticed that his assistant had pulled off his heavy boots and was lacing on sneakers. “No point,” said the cameraman, “if he decides to go for us you will never outrun him.” “I don’t need to outrun him” replied the assistant, “I only need to outrun you.”

The moral of the story is don’t film lions. No wait… the moral of the story is to keep an eye on those around you. It may sound brutal but when the 5% layoff tranche comes through, your colleagues are your competitors. Just make sure you are doing more to add value back to the business (and to be seen to add value back to the business) than most of them are. Or at least make sure you are not running at the back of the pack. If you are the highest paid with the narrowest set of skills (don’t measure range of technical knowledge – that counts as one skill), then you are walking.

That point about being seen to contribute is important. Technical people are often modest, and take a dim view of those who blow their own trumpet. But ask yourself what the odds are of your manager doing the investigation necessary to get a good picture of who really wrote the document, or who was here over the weekend. Tell them.

And (to jumble analogies) make sure you have a parachute. Where will you work next? Doing what? Make sure your CV looks attractive and your skills are adequate now, before the crunch comes. Being laid off is a traumatic experience: you will cope many times better if you already have a plan and are at least part of the way along the path to being prepared. Better to spend severance money on a brief job search and a nice holiday, rather than crammed training and endless door knocking.

In a future article we will look at some of your options for moving ahead and up before the lions get you.

)See Strategies For Securing Your IT Career.)

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