Why should a company choose your firm for their staffing needs? What sets your company apart from other agencies? As you well know, these are important questions that prospective clients ask to help make their decision. What answers will you give […]
There are plenty of benefits to loving your job, which can reach far beyond the actual hours you’re on the clock.
As Ray White, author of “Connecting Happiness and Success,” says, “When people love what they do, they are happier and more successful. They work longer hours, make more friends at work, spend most of their time thinking about how to do things better and talk to everyone about what they do, which provides them with lots of diverse ideas on how to do their job even better. Their job becomes intertwined in their life rather than separate from it, and they excel because of it.”
Even if you don’t love your job, it can still have a positive effect on your life. “The job may not be your passion,” White says. “It may just enable your passion. Your job can be how you earn enough money to surf or play music. So you are not passionate about the job, but you are passionate about what it enables you to do. The key is to put your job into the perspective of your passions or dreams.”
Craft your job
Whether you’re passionate about your work or what it enables you to do, there are ways to improve your career outlook and how you spend your time in the office. White suggests “job crafting,” or reshaping the responsibilities you hold, as well as your attitude toward them.
“How can you make adjustments in your job so it leverages your strengths, calls on your passions and changes the boring and routine tasks?” White says. “I often use the example of our janitor who doesn’t think her job is to clean bathrooms, it is to keep the ‘kids’ — her name for our young workforce — happy and productive. She makes sure they have coffee in the morning, clean dishes and re-arranged furniture to help them be productive. Last week she pulled furniture out of an old storage room and set up shelves for the people whose desks were getting overcrowded. She changed her job to be something she was passionate about.”
This kind of attitude adjustment can be as large or small as you’re willing to try. “As part of job crafting, you can also turn boring routine tasks into contests with yourself or others,” White says. “If you did 100 entries yesterday, how can you do 150 entries today and maintain the same quality?”
Improving how you do your job and how you see your responsibilities is a critical first step in loving your job. But what else can you do to ignite the passion? White recommends looking for the connections. His challenge to job seekers and workers alike: “Do they connect with the vision and values of the company? Does the company purpose give them something bigger than themselves to pursue, for example, an alarm company making the world safer? Do they connect with their friends and teammates at work? Can they be passionate about helping their co-workers succeed or help their team complete a big project? Can they connect with all the things they can learn on the job or the opportunity for travel and/or career advancement? Can they get excited about the opportunities for them to take on and accomplish huge projects with seemingly insurmountable challenges?” These are all questions you can ask yourself, and if you don’t like the answer, you have a great jumping off point for what to change.
The bottom line is not to look at everything you hate about your job, but to find what your job provides for you. After all, as White says, “It is not about the job; it is about how they look at the job and how they choose to create the connection between their jobs and their lives.”
Workers with information technology skills are some of today’s most in-demand workers. In fact, employers are having a hard time finding people with the right IT skills to fill open positions. While technical skills are naturally important to employers seeking qualified IT candidates, that’s not all it takes to get a job or be successful in an IT role.
Here, IT experts share the nontechnical skills they believe are needed to succeed in IT:
“I think it’s critical that IT professionals must be analytical in nature — the ability to look at trends and problems with an eye on cultivating a solution that can speak to an overarching trend rather than a particular, nuanced issue is critical.” – Richie Lauridsen, director of operations, SEOhaus
“The most important non-technical skill for IT professionals in my experience is empathy. With empathy comes understanding of the clients’ and/or end-users’ problems. This breeds an ‘ownership’ of the problem, which, in turn, breeds clarity in delivering communication of the problem and its resolution.” – Yehuda Cagen, director of client services, Xvand Technology Corporation
“After 30 years in this industry, which began as a programmer, the skill that helped elevate my career most is that of communication. Learning to be succinct and communicate clearly to your intended audience is absolutely essential for continued success in this business. Communication skills should be developed early and attention paid to detail that is expressed in emails, presentations, phone conversations, meetings and so on. I often coach our younger staff members on communication and why understanding the context of communication is critical.” – Kevin Carlson, vice president and chief security officer, Optaros Inc.
“Presentation skills make the difference between your ideas being implemented in the real world and them never seeing the light of day. When an IT professional complains that no one in the business understands them, they often have their own faulty presentation skills to blame. To have effective presentation skills, an IT professional must understand how to communicate clearly to a non-technical audience, to be comfortable with the tools and techniques of speaking to a group and have the ability to create a business ‘value proposition’ for their audience. The key to learning to present is practice, practice, practice — to your IT peers, to friendly colleagues and even to the mirror.” – Jon Eberly, CEO, Clock Four
Ability to listen
“The ability to listen to the needs of those you support can directly determine the types of products and projects you are assigned to. And while everyone in IT may want the latest and greatest, it does not mean it is necessarily the right fit. Listening to staff needs will also affect your judgment(s) concerning specific products or methods required to fulfill those needs. Lastly, listening will help to foster relationships within the department. Working and listening so closely with one another establishes a sense of trust, reaffirms their faith in your abilities and aids in ensuring all IT personnel meet or exceed expectations.” — Sean Harris, network administrator, City of Palm Bay, Fla.
“Today’s IT professional needs to be sure they possess the ‘soft skills’ that can help them really merchandise their work — and worth — to the organization. They need great people skills, the ability to anticipate questions, and most importantly, a good business sense. I’d recommend IT professionals get really smart about return on investment and showing how their work impacts the bottom line. They should also make sure they’re absolutely clear about the organization’s business goals as a whole and find ways to show how their work contributes to those goals. In today’s market, it is not enough to have great IT skills and knowledge, it is equally important to position yourself as a strategic business person.” – Peter Nordberg, CEO, InSite
“I believe that entrepreneurship is the most important non-technical skill IT professionals should possess. Entrepreneurship is more of a mindset than a skill, a perspective that can transform problems into opportunities and opportunities into innovation. In the world of IT, innovation large and small can be viewed as ‘career currency’ that increases the value of the IT professional to their organization.” – Ara H. Bagdasarian, CEO, Omnilert