Ever invest money? Like, even a 401(k) or something? What’s the first piece of advice you’re usually given by investment people?
The idea in finance is that, if one part of your portfolio sucks at the moment, you kind of want it balanced with something that doesn’t suck. So you invest a bit in domestic, a bit in international. A bit in stocks, a bit in bonds. That kind of thing.
Investing solely in one kind of thing creates what’s called a homogeneous portfolio, and it’s typically a bad idea. The same applies to your career.
Orin Thomas recently told me that the average IT Pro, in the Microsoft world, is 43 years old. Makes some sense; younger kids tend to be attracted to younger companies, and younger companies are largely deploying Linux for their big dot-com-startup projects (which is why Microsoft ❤️ Linux all of a sudden). So there are fewer young people getting into Microsoft-centric IT Ops.
And so we’re having a midlife career crisis.
Man, these guys are a lot smarter than me. I’ll just sit here and try to look pretty.
Here’s a little secret: Every one of us feels that way, almost all the time.
I feel fortunate to have been pretty successful – by my family’s measure, if nobody else’s – in my career. I’m often asked if there was a secret to it all – and the answer is “yes.” My former business partner, Greg Shields, and I had three simple rules. These apply whether you’re independent, working for a company, or thinking about your customers.
I talk, and write, a lot about how important it is to think about your career. To feed your career. To keep your career foremost in your vision.
There comes a time when your career is doing pretty well, and you’re comfortable resting for a moment and enjoying what it’s brought you. There may also come a time when you’ve gotten pretty far along in your career, and you start to think, “what’s next?”
Let me propose something.
In a recent Pluralsight “IT Ops News & Talk” podcast, I talked a bit about quantifying your level of suck.
That sounds horrible.
Here’s what I said, and why:
This year I’ll have a scaled-back conference schedule, so if you’re interested, I thought I’d share. Most notably, after around 13 years, I’ll no longer be attending TechMentor Events, or assisting with their content planning. This is in no way a falling out or anything bad; I still recommend the show, but it’s just a time commitment that, in addition to my full-time job, I’m no longer able to fulfill. I’ll miss working with everyone there.