Change has become the only constant in our lives. As IT professionals, we face the prospect of managing change in our work lives more frequently than most other professions. This may be a generalized statement, but the increasing rate of new technology introduction and adoption supports this observation.
From an operational standpoint, there is the never-ending push to ensure environments are upgraded to supported releases, and then patches must be applied on a regular basis. From a project perspective, expectations are that new technologies will solve problems in organizations that are rooted in poor processes. There comes a point when we can become change-fatigued.
I was intrigued by an interview in Forbes recently. Kare Anderson interviewed author Whitney Johnson who wrote the book Disrupt Yourself. Johnson speaks to the rate of technology adoption by stating that it took 35 years for mass adoption of the telephone, 31 years for the radio, a decade for the cellphone, and 7 years for the internet.
At this rate, according to Johnson, the time to mass technology adoption appears to be decreasing by half every decade. If we are surrounded by accelerated change and technology adoption, how do we stay revitalized and energized as IT professionals?
No doubt, we have all had moments where we want to throw our hands up in despair when a project suddenly changes direction and a new technology is chosen. If you have not yet encountered that experience, it’s coming! The answer to the question of how we remain revitalized is a personal one and requires practicing something called mindfulness and self-reflection. These concepts sound simple, but, as someone who practices this on a daily basis, I can tell you they are more difficult than they sound—but worth learning. If you are feeling overwhelmed and exasperated by constant change as an IT professional, here are a few reflective questions to ask yourself:
• Do I learn something new every day?
• Am I curious about technology and people?
• Does being an IT professional bring me satisfaction, fulfillment, and mastery?
• Do I have some level of autonomy to make decisions that benefit my team, business unit, or organization?
• Do I feel energized by implementing a technology solution (either myself or through others) that solves a business problem?
• Do I enjoy the people I work with in my organization, and do I trust my leadership team?
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, I would say that what you do as an IT professional energizes and revitalizes you. If, on the other hand, you answered “no” to most of these questions, it might be time to think about what you could change in your career to bring back some of that energy, satisfaction, and fulfillment. Live in the present, and plan for the future.
Very little is static, so be prepared to take a different path in your career when necessary. You will not only be more productive, but you might find yourself feeling revitalized, energized, and happy!