The happiest and most successful people working in IT jobs are the ones who had the foresight to know where they ultimately wanted to wind up in their careers. They may have set their sights on CIO, Senior Programmer or Systems Architect, but the point is: they had a vision. They set goals to work toward that vision from day one. Sure, they probably had to work the help desk for months just like everybody else, but they assessed their aptitudes, found mentors, investigated career options and created plans to get ahead in life.
Generally speaking, one of four scenarios will play out over the years in your IT job:
- A select few wind up working IT jobs that they absolutely love that are akin to what they set out to do. These people were either very determined or very lucky. They mapped out their careers early and sought help along their career development path. This is the ideal scenario for you!
- Some people map out their dream IT jobs, but find out that it wasn’t quite what they expected. In fact, some people end up hating the job once they get there! At the very least, they can say they attained what they set out to do, which is quite an achievement. Yet, happiness may come in working with a different company that has a better corporate culture. Or it may require working for oneself. In some cases, people burn out in what they are doing, but they are able to set new goals and redirect their careers toward something more enjoyable.
- Some people try their darndest, but still can’t get the IT jobs they set out for. These people need not feel ashamed for trying their best. As Aerosmith says, “Life’s a journey, not a destination.” It’s possible the end goal is still achievable, but the steps taken to get there need to be tweaked. It’s a good idea to speak with a manager, supervisor or mentor to find out if you are capable of reaching your goal if you stay the course. In some cases, you may find your natural aptitudes lie elsewhere.
- Then there are people working IT jobs that they dislike or that fall far short of their expectations because they didn’t establish a plan. It may not necessarily be too late. Look into adding skills, certifications and education to make your resume more desirable. Ask about cross-training opportunities in different departments and find out what kind of internal openings might help you get one step closer to your goal.