If there’s one issue that Information Technology (IT) leaders rarely discuss with colleagues, friends, or family it’s boredom. Boredom victims generally suffer in silence as a career that was once captivating and invigorating has, over the years, settled into a seemingly endless series of dull routines.
Boredom is insidious and, if left unaddressed, can be a career killer. It can not only hurt your chances of getting a promotion, but also ruin the dynamic in your team or your interpersonal relationships at work. If you bring your bad mood home from work, it can also hurt the people closest to you.
Boredom seldom goes away on its own. Fortunately, the best remedy is simple: a healthy dose of excitement.
Here are 7 approaches to restore interest and motivation back in your job as an IT professional:
1. Consider a role change
- IT is forever evolving, offering an endless series of fresh skills and challenges.
- If you’re not excited about the opportunities and tasks your job offers, first look at the different areas within the industry before leaving it altogether.
- Another possibility is making a lateral move, either within your current enterprise or with another industry player.
- Skills developed in one IT area can often be transferred to another with little effort or loss of income or reputation.
- If being a Chief Information Officer (CIO) is no longer fulfilling, consider switching to another, yet related, management or senior IT-related leadership position.
- It’s very beneficial to one’s career to rotate positions every few years.
2. Explore part-time teaching
- Many senior IT leaders reinvigorate their careers, enhance their reputations, and earn extra income by becoming a part-time college or university adjunct professor.
- To get started, contact adjunct IT faculty members at relevant institutions for advice.
- Next, audit a few courses to observe teaching skills. Follow up by volunteering to guest lecture at a local school.
- While becoming an adjunct professor can be prestigious and remunerative, it also requires plenty of hard work.
- Depending on the school, and whether the course is in-classroom or online, an adjunct professor’s commitment can run anywhere from seven to 15 weeks.
- During a typical week, you will be expected to deliver lectures, grade tests, and set aside time to talk with students and answer their questions.
- Schedules tend to be fairly rigid and may interfere with your everyday business activities.
- The course, which you will be expected to provide, must meet the institution’s academic standards.
- You will need to generate a detailed syllabus for each week — exactly what you’re going to teach and when.
3. Become a mentor
- Mentoring gives IT leaders a fulfilling and productive way to step back from the daily grind while helping to create and retain highly skilled, enthusiastic staff members.
- The hallmarks of a good mentor are accessibility, honesty, and maintaining the confidentiality of discussions.
- You draw on your own knowledge and experience to build talented teams that are prepared to face any challenge.
- When you’ve worked in most of the roles your staff hold, having that understanding of the specific skill set your staff requires allows you to properly mentor and groom individuals.
- Having the opportunity to assist others formally is a great way to give back.
4. Start an outreach programme
- Volunteering can be a productive, satisfying way to achieve a balanced life. Helping others tends to help yourself in unexpected ways.
- A simple way to lend a hand is to discuss industry trends with high school and vocational school students and instructors.
- Most important, it just feels great to provide guidance that helps an individual or organisation in ways small and large.
- Besides lifting spirits, an outreach program can also raise an enterprise’s public profile.
- IT leaders tend to have many connections based on the third-party partners they work with.
- Getting these enterprises involved in a public initiative can lead to a synergy that benefits all parties.
- Lending a hand, volunteering, is a good way to achieve a balance in life.
5. Network with peers
- Joining a professional IT organisation can expand a weary CIO’s personal network, exposing the IT leader to new concepts and perspectives.
- Members bring different perspectives based on their technical expertise, industry, size of company, geography and more.
- If you opt for a small, peer-type organisation, look for ones featuring CIO roundtables and such where you can take topics while consulting with your peers on current trends and industry standards.
- Since time is scarce for most IT leaders, observe before joining.
- Before you jump in with both feet and commit to joining a professional organisation, it’s always best to attend some meetings and to understand their mission and commitment.
6. Launch a citizen developer initiative
- Participating in the citizen development movement, an initiative that encourages non-professional developers to create business applications using no-code/low-code platforms can help a tired IT leader get back into the thick of software design.
- With today’s unyielding demands on IT departments, citizen development provides a new and unique career path within IT to create complex, systemised workflow processes.
- As individuals familiar with programming technology, IT professionals can lead the charge for citizen development.
- The citizen development movement provides opportunities for professionals to learn new skills and create impactful applications at their own pace.
7. Seek professional support
- A career coach can help reinvigorate a bored IT leader.
- They use their personal experiences to give actionable strategies to advance your career and, most importantly, become your accountability partner.
- A research found that people are 65% likely to meet a goal after committing to another person. The chances of success increase to as high as 95% when their progress is regularly monitored.
IT leaders should always remain receptive to new ideas and pathways. The key to a successful IT career is to learn constantly.