What a topic! However, sadly, this is a topic we all must think about sometime in our careers, unless we have that “perfect” job with all that great opportunity that will just never end (tell me when you find that).

We must all accept the fact that we’re going to land that “dead end job” in the IT field, typically with a mom and pop shop. It is with these dead end jobs we must decide when the job is detrimental to our long term careers, especially those boxed in and in bed with a specific vendor and technology with no desire to venture and explore.

I am in no way advocating that large corporate IT is the candy land of careers and not all mom and pop shops are one sided isolated deserts where IT careers go to die. What I am saying is we must look within ourselves and ask ourselves when we’ve gotten all we can get from a specific role, both in experience and in rank. This is where large corporations have more movement than a mom and pop shop where the dad, mom, and daughter will forever and always be the leaders and you’ll always be just an employee, like a recent employer I left.

I see the problem in both sectors. In corporate IT you find the complacent “elders” who haven’t changed, aren’t changing, and will fight any change. However, the IT of this era is moving at a pace that warrants staying ahead of the curve, not behind it. I also see great engineers who’re stuck in mom and pop shops doing the same thing over and over again, adhering to policies which make no sense and dealing with the emotion of working for a small, family owned business, who feel that their employees need to devote just as much time and attention as they did, which is a horrible way of thinking.

Ultimately, it is you who makes the decision on what you do, where you do it, and who you do it for. You must be comfortable being uncomfortable if you want to move ahead in IT, you must make calculated risks in your career to advance. Once again, this doesn’t mean take all risks, make calculated risks only. Know your job market, research your skill set and make sure you’re current or if you need to branch out to other things. Tune your resume to the job you want, don’t make it so vague and long winded to avoid boring the person reading it. I promise no job is perfect and no company will ever offer you everything you could ask for; however, much like being in a committed relationship, you must be paired with a company whose faults, in your eyes, are ones you can make a compromise with and be happy doing so.

Be vigilant in your job searches, never settle and always keep an open mind to different technologies and fields. In the end we spend more than half of our lives working, at least make it as pleasant as possible

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