By John Rice | Systems Administrator at CPS and Professionals Incorporated
Can your preconceptions about your chosen field ultimately work against you and help to limit your professional quality of life?
For many in the IT field the absolute pinnacle of professional life is to work for what’s considered a Tier 1 firm, those being the major players in the given subset of the field, companies like Microsoft, Oracle, Google, Siemens Business Services, etc. And for many people the desire to get into those companies often makes them overlook what they consider less desirable opportunities, like ones at smaller companies. This is a mistake in my opinion, and I’ll explain why.
I have been in this field many years, more than I care to mention, and working for a Tier 1 was my main goal and desire. Well I eventually did get that opportunity and at first I was ecstatic about that. I had visions of working with forward thinking people, and being exposed to the state of the art in information systems. Well without going into boring detail my expectations were never met. Honestly, I was miserable. During the course of my day I dealt with management that were totally incapable of thinking outside the box, or even having a creative thought and I was supporting systems that could be considered dinosaurs. Then luck smiled upon me, I had answered an ad for a network administrator position that a local temp/placement service was running. I wasn’t offered that job, well that’s not exactly true, instead I was offered one with the service itself. At first I was a little apprehensive, that coming from my preconceptions. Those being that it was a small company, was almost sure that they had to be limited in progressive thinking, and finally that it was a staffing firm and the work environment had to be a stuffy and boring. Being that I really wanted to work I took the position, with the idea of continuing my search for better work places. Then I had my first day….
I was wrong. Yes my readers I was dead wrong. I absolutely love the job I have. The management is not only forward thinking but also ready to take calculated chances on new technology. In fact I am in process of implementing a completely new IT infrastructure–from switch to server, and I designed it. How many people in this field get the opportunity to administer a system they designed? Not many. Also, my coworkers are in a word-awesome. In the majority of offices there are typically one or two end users that simply irritate the IT guy, and I don’t have that-not a single one. I have yet to wake up during the week and dread going to work and hope that trend continues.
So what is the moral of this tale? If I had held true to my beliefs about smaller companies I would most likely be in the typical position that is not truly fulfilling, exciting, or fun. So take a chance, even if you think you know about a particular position or company. I took the chance, albeit not exactly expecting this outcome, and I couldn’t be happier. Am I working for a Tier 1 company? The answer is no, and I love it. By taking the chance you could find the position you have been waiting for, or if not it becomes a learning experience and you are no worse had you not given it the chance.