Should an IT Leader Follow His-Her Dream Career?

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I bumped into one of my longtime friends last week, Mark, and he told me how unhappy he was at his IT job. He was feeling a great deal of guilt over this because his firm had just had yet another round of layoffs and he had been spared. He still had his job, but he hated it. What’s an IT Leader to do in this situation?

The Grass Always Seems To Be Greener…

What caught my attention about Mark’s situation (hating your IT job is not really that novel) was that he knew exactly what he’d prefer to be doing. Mark plays jazz guitar on the side and he’s actually quite good at it. He’d love to do it full time, but he’s afraid to take the leap.

In the current hard economic times, many IT professionals are having the whole “afraid to leap” thing solved for them by getting laid off. If you happen to lose your job, it may cause a deep seated burst of career change desire to well up in you.

Been There, Done That, Now What?

If you find yourself in a situation where you start to long to take up that “other” career that you have always longed to pursue, there is some hard thinking that you are going to have to do. We’ve all heard stories of IT professionals who have walked away from it all to setup restaurants, bakeries, dry cleaning stores, etc. only to seem them fail in a spectacular fashion.

The big question is what separates the crazy second career ideas that we all have from the ones that just might work? Business coach Pamela Slim believes that it’s not the idea, not the career that you are interested in, or even the market that you want to enter. Rather she believes that your success or failure in a second career really depends on you.

Second Career Success Secrets

Slim believes that you can separate your deeply held career urges from those that you pick up from watching an episode of “Dirty Jobs” one night by one simple fact: real second career desires don’t go away over time, they just get stronger. In fact, we can’t ignore them – they are always there.

Hey IT Leader Should You Make The Jump?

Here’s the question that you have to ask yourself: no matter what job you have, your future will be filled with uncertainty, doubts, and you are going to find yourself working very hard to keep your head above water. When you reach the end of the race, how much is it going to matter to you if you gave the second career a go or if you let it just remain a passing thought? Answer this question and you’ll know what your next steps need to be as you work to transform yourself from an IT manager into a true leader.

Oh, by the way, my friend Mark is still slaving away at his IT job. He continues to dream about a music career, but he loves his regular paycheck more.

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