6 Tips for Keeping Motivated in Your Tech Career
If you’ve been working in tech for over a decade, there’s a slight chance you could be showing signs of burn-out. Or maybe you're just getting bored. Don’t let that overarching urge to jump ship get the best of you. There are ways you can combat and conquer. And don’t get me wrong, I am undoubtedly certain that this feeling of stress, doubt or boredom can be a problem in any industry but as a technology professional I see it happening around me every day.
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If you’ve been with one company for several years, you most likely get a barrage of emails every day from random vendors. You end up deleting most of them but occasionally find a gem of an article in one of them. Make a point of either unsubscribing or creating a rule to move the mail. De-cluttering is a no-brainer but the other piece to this puzzle is subscribing to feeds and news articles that have great content that you look forward to reading. For instance, I remember the day that I subscribed to C.I. Security’s news blast by Mike Hamilton. His daily IT News Blasts are chock full of great headlines. He pulls together a list of ten or so of the latest IT Security news articles and gives you a short summary of each with a hyperlink if you want to read more.
Geek out with your coworkers.
Read something cool in one of those newsletters? Discuss it with one of your coworkers or techie friends. Talking about your interests will make keeping abreast even more interesting. Have an idea for a fun tech project? Make it a team project or better yet, a competition.
Attend a conference.
If your company can afford it, attend a conference that’s focused on your specialty. When I was a Sys Admin I attended Cisco Live, Microsoft Roadmap, and a few other technology specific conferences. As a SharePoint Admin I’ve attended SharePoint Fest. Often times the conference web page will have tips on how to convince your boss that it’s worth it to go. You never know unless you ask. And if they say no, that can’t spare any extra money, then see if your vendor will wrap a conference pass into your next maintenance package or look for free day conferences that are local. Learn what’s new, get some great tips and network with your peers. And make sure to hit up the workshops if they offer them!
Build something that you can hang your hat on.
So your boss slams a new project on your desk and tells you that the CEO wants the new shiny (complex) application to be installed, configured, and thoroughly tested by the end of next month. Rather than reluctantly accept the project, take it as a challenge and an opportunity to remind them why it was a great decision to hire you. Carefully research and plan the product to find what challenges you may be presented with during installation and what features that it provides that the company may not have noticed before. If you can come out with a perfectly configured and efficient product with a couple of bells and whistles then you will feel proud to say you did it!
Instead of saying “I’m doing inventory for my boss” or “they’re making me create a database for them”. Say, I am improving my department’s efficiency by providing an accurate inventory of our equipment. Just because the company you work for doesn’t have a huge IT budget for fancy tools doesn’t mean that you can’t be proud of what you have. Make it work great with whatever resources you have.
I started a technical blog a while ago when I realized that I might have some tips to offer my fellow techies. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found better content in blogs vs. the vendor knowledge base for tutorials or fixes. I later found that blogging has also helped me to stay inspired and lends as a reminder to why I love working in this industry. If you are a guru for application XYZ, then share your tips and trials in a blog. Pay it forward!
Some of my Favorite Subscriptions:
If the above don’t fit your criteria, do a web search for “best tech newsletters”. I stumbled on this great article that highlights the writers favorites in 12 of the Best Tech Newsletters to Subscribe to in 2019. Or another great way to stay on top of things is to search Twitter for a specific technology, read tech professionals latest tweets and Follow those that post interesting news! Who doesn’t love tidbits of great info in under 280 words?