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Knowing Stagnation Part 2

So in the last Post we uncovered some ways to find stagnation. In this post we will be covering a couple of ways to treat the stagnation after you discovered you are infected by it. This can force you into some seriously complicated situations and perhaps some very unconformable ones.

But how do we treat Stagnation before we decide its best to move on from your job?


Cut the fat out of your day

Cutting the spare time out of your day can help with treating stagnation, being able to fill your day with interesting tasks that may not have to do with your job description but enhance your career is a good first step.

You enjoy what interests you right? So if your current job doesn’t interest you perhaps there is some steps you can take to fill your day with interesting tasks while still completing your responsibilities. Simple things like putting VMware workstation on your work PC and standing up your first Linux box. Discovering new technologies is a great way to fill some time within your day. Leaning a new skill on your own will show your boss you are ready for a more advanced job and you have the ambition to do it. This is done by spending every minute at your work doing something productive and interesting.


Lean on your colleagues

Bother your colleagues and ask what they are doing. Show the ambition to proactively work with your team members, even if their job has nothing to do with yours. Sometimes they will say no. and that is fine move to the next person until you find someone who can teach you some new skills. When that colleague and yourself get more comfortable working together they will rely on you more for small tasks. and also provide a voice to your manager when it comes to taking on more advanced tasks and less minute tasks.

And plus misery  loves company. Maybe your colleagues feel the same way about the company, and working in two’s is a lot better than working alone. At that point you can be an effective voice for change when there are two of you with the same concerns. So when you talk to your manager they will know its not just one engineer that has a issue this makes a huge difference


Got a manager?

This is the hardest part of trying to treat stagnation and that is talking to your manager about your current roles and responsibilities. depending on the kind of relationship you have with your manager this can go one of two ways.

First way is good.

You sit down to have an honest and polite discussion with your manager about where you see yourself in 5-10 years career wise. Tell them what you want to learn and how they can potentially help. This conversation is the easiest and will usually be the conversation that will be had. This shows that your manager cares about his employee’s and wants to provide them with the opportunity to learn and thrive in their current work environment.  If your manager is anything close to a good manager this conversation will end with some proactive steps you guys can take together to work on your career path and what you expect to gain from working at that company.

Having this plan is nice but it only works when you and your manager put your 100% commitment into it.  If you both have the end goal in mind and your manager is halfway decent you will come out on top and at least for a short time your stagnation will be lifted.

But then there is the second way….

Do you have a manager? Does your manager only care about his paycheck? Does your manager not care about his employee’s because he is retiring in 5 year? well for three easy payments of mental stability we can fix your problems.

Having a conversation with a manager who just does give a rats ass is a hard spot to be in and honestly working for someone like that just plain sucks ass.

So what do we do about said manager?

  • Do we just don’t even bother and leave?
  • Do we go to his boss?
  • Do we just learn on our own and hope we don’t get caught?

There is one of two ways that work with these kinds of managers. The first is to have a Polite but frank discussion with them. Kind of like the first way. At this point that will do one of two things. it will either

  • A. Put a fire under their ass even if just for a short while.
  • B. They will get aggravated and hold a grudge and it will be very awkward
  • C. They will find any excuse to fire you.
  • D. Nothing changes

Those choices don’t sound to bad right? Well I have been in the situations where my “managers” have been out to get me. Just for showing them their flaws in managing. So when i say a Polite but frank discussion that is exactly what it needs to be. Tell them what you want to learn and tell them how you want to learn it. Tell them everything that could be better about the company or the team. Now don’t get me wrong this could cause some issues so do this AT YOUR OWN RISK. But it is worth a try even for the managers that don’t seem to give a rats ass.  Have the discussion about your career, it is important to you so it should be important to your manager. If it isn’t then leave that job immediately. It is not worth you being miserable and stagnant in your job because some crappy manager has had enough of this world.  Find greener pastures and embrace the change.


Like this article? Do you hate it? Let me know below in the comments or on twitter!

Part 1: Becoming a great engineer

I would just like to say this post is in NO WAY insinuating I am a great engineer. I believe that no matter how much you know or think you know there is always room for improvement and development. That being said these are some things I believe makes a technologist really stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Learning


The most important step to becoming an awesome engineer is the ability to learn. Might seem pretty obvious, of course, you have to learn to become an engineer, but the truth is you must have a love of learning and a passion for your trade to not only learn but retain the information that you absorb. This requires patience and practicing your trade even when away from the working environment. This is a pretty easy skill but takes a lot of dedication. Spending 8-12 Hours a day in front of the computer might make you loath technology when you are home, which is fine but Spending time working on your own learning path and interests becomes easier the deeper and more often you dive into it.

Home Labs!

Set up your own home lab! Home labs are an awesome way to test, troubleshoot, and/or break technology. They offer you the perfect opportunity to go all out on a test environment for your own sick pleasure, like breaking a perfectly good nested ESXi hosts or seeing what happens when you rip PostGres out of Vcenter. All this can be done in a home lab and also provide awesome learning opportunities without the risk of bringing down production of work environments.  Some great articles for home labs can be found on google. But don’t be taken aback by the high prices that are shown on some home labs, you can run an awesome lab on a single host with a lot of memory and CPU. I build my home lab for about 600 dollars and it works just fine for what I use it for.

Social Channels

Social channels are huge in the learning path for any technologist. Networks like twitter offer a fast and current view on new technology releases and news. It’s also great for networking, following your favorite engineers or CEO’s provides you with an opportunity to not only pick their brains on certain things but also connect with them and bring them up in topics you are unsure about. With the various technologies new and old represented on sites like twitter, there are unlimited opportunities to learn. Reddit is another great resource for information and learning. Reddit has become the epicenter for questions and answers on the web. You can find literally anything! Set up your account and starting asking tough questions that have you puzzled. this will hopefully lead to some solids answers. But also beware Reddit isn’t very moderated on some sites and you can get some wrong information, but in that case, it is usually discredited pretty fast.

Why?

The one word “Why?” is, in my opinion, the most important word someone can ask. Not only in technology but in any field. “Why?” is that gateway to every question in technology or life for that matter, It opens up a gateway of knowledge. I find this one-word phrase irreplaceable, trying to understand technology isn’t a “Know one, fit all” experience. In order to properly grasp technology and the concept of being a technologist you must understand that one product is not one technology, it is a buffet of many different technologies. Some of those technologies may be bleeding edge and barely touch upon, and some may be two decades old but still running strong.  Asking why will bring out the questions that sometimes aren’t easily discovered otherwise. “Why?” is by far the most important question a technologist can ask.