I remember several decades ago when I was working in the PBX telephone space. My boss at the time had called a meeting to discuss the changes that were coming to our industry – specifically this new concept called “VoIP” or Voice over Internet Protocol. For you youngsters, making a phone call via internet was not a realistic option until the mid-late 1990’s.
I remember the message clearly: He stated that times were about to get tough, and that if we did not absolutely love what we were doing he recommended we begin looking for another line of work. I took his message and ran for the hills.
What I have learned since that time is to stay ahead of the curve with technology. If you get stuck in a plateauing market, you better either be the absolute best at what you do – or find something new.
While not focused on technology, we may find the current pandemic and related employment crisis drives a similar scenario. We are already seeing millions of furloughs and layoffs, and at the same time technology is stressing to keep up with the changing business environment.
We held a session during our recent Online Digital Stratosphere event entitled “Dodging Career Peril in Light of Today’s Economic Situation,” where we discussed this precise issue. I wanted to share some ideas that came from this session. (You can watch recordings of the entire Stratosphere 2020 Conference here).
First, for those who are viewing this pandemic as a time to take some time away from the office and get yard work done, be very careful. As technology companies continue to restructure, employees who are not in the forefront will likely be the first to go. We spoke with several leaders who are working more hours than they have in decades, and they notice those who are stepping up to the plate to help.
It will likely not be the case that once this is through that technology companies simply “bring people back.” The technology market is far too fluid. Think instead of this current situation as a filter to get rid of the underperformers.
When hiring begins again, the roles and requirements for your current job may not be the same, and there will likely be a flood of qualified people ready and willing to step in. As my old boss was trying to tell us, “if you don’t love what you are doing, there’s the door.” What this means today is that if you are not ready to put in extra hours and sweat to keep your position, this may be an ideal time for a career change.
The benefit that we have in today’s age is that there is no shortage in technology work and the need for technology will never cease. Requirements for certain technologies are actually increasing with the current pandemic. Certain skills are transferable and new positions will continue open.
If you have an itch to step into something new begin learning now. Attend webinars, read something or check out YouTube education instead of watching COVID-19 updates on TV and begin evaluating the job market now. We do not know exactly when or how things will return to normal, so the more prepared you are the better.
There are endless proverbs on how change drives us towards success or failure, and now is definitely the time for change. Regardless of where you are in your career, you will probably look back at this time as a turning point.
I am personally a believer in endless opportunity. What this means is that just because one person wins does not mean another must lose. We only chose to lose. We can actually all pull ahead through this and end up in a better position than we were before. As we are all part of an infinitely expanding technology ecosystem, the more of us that succeed and learn to create value, the more value will be available for the world to enjoy.
P.S. We are actively growing our team, so if you are tired of your current role, we are expanding our technology-agnostic team at Third Stage! Please contact us if you would like to submit your resume for consideration.