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Tom the IT guy: How to get ahead by really trying

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Mildly amusing… the story of a stereotypical IT technician stuck in a dead-end job.  This video was done by a software vendor to promote its products.  Somehow, by buying the vendor’s software, (and a makeover) you can get promoted from a dead-end technician to an IT Manager.  And, become promotable beyond that.

This short video (slow at points) depicts some basic truisms about getting ahead

  1. If you want to get ahead, you need to look the part.  Dressing like a nerd may get you “street cred” with a peer group of engineers or technicians but it’s a liability in the context of executives.  (And the secretary in the video has an opinion as well)
  2. A single-minded focus on technology (as an end in itself) will get you nowhere.
  3. Being tagged a “techie” by middle or executive management is a near career-ender
  4. If you have a “distinguished” technical job title and no management responsibilities – your career advancement is over.  Executives have tagged you as “non-promotable” to even a first management position.  (Read about Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt on How to Manage Geeks )
  5. If you want to get ahead you need to understand the business of the corporation.  You have to make what is important to the executives important to you.  You need to see the “big picture” of the corporation and how all the piece parts fit together.  Note Tom’s discussion with the CIO in the video.
  6. To get a new job then get a new peer group.  I don’t think that most people really appreciate the affect and effect that peer groups have on them.  Peer groups hold, maintain, sustain, and enforce aspirations and values.  Peer groups can be enablers and well as disablers.  Peer groups can be assets or liabilities – depending on your perspective.  Perspectives are not right or wrong or true or false – they simply “are”.    In Tom’s “old world” his peer group of technicians and engineers was an asset to his job in sustaining aspirations and values to remain a technician in that peer group.  Now, in Tom’s “new world” of a first management position his old peer group and its aspirations and values are a liability.  If Tom wants to continue in his career path in management then he needs the aspirations and values of the peer group of executives.  The short video is mildly amusing – but accurate.

I realize that not everyone wants to get ahead.  I “get that” – but yet I don’t. 
Read some related articles here and here.


Written by frrl

January 19, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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