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Is It Time to Leave Corporate IT?

In a recent article in InformationWeek, Alice LaPlante gives some great advice for what to do if you lose your IT job. In that article, she references David Christiansen's blog, which recommends that you "slack" and spend time on other activities. Folks, if we have gotten to that point in corporate America, it's time to leave it, which I guess is David's long-term recommendation.

Part of me wants to say: Think positive, stick it out, work harder, and be more vocal about your accomplishments so that you will survive each round of layoffs. That only matters if you work for an organization that really appreciates the contributions of the individual. Unfortunately, what I have seen and experienced in workforce reduction is often that none of that stuff matters. The layoffs have little to do with your skills or value to the organization, and the bigger the organization the truer that becomes.

This all leads me to ask: Is large corporate America broken, and is it time to just get out all together? IT people deserve to get up every day looking forward to a job that challenges them, one where they feel like they make a difference and where they are given the tools to actually make a difference. That may have to be in a smaller organization. I'll admit that I came from corporate IT and now run a small business, so maybe I am biased.

There are plenty of small to medium-sized businesses that need IT help, either full time or as an outsourcer. When I visit these organizations or talk to their people on the phone, there is generally a dramatic difference in attitude and morale in the IT personnel. Certainly this could be a result that overall the company has a better morale and attitude, but it may also be because the IT team is much smaller, gets to do a wider variety of tasks, and has more influence over the technology the company uses.

Now, I'm not saying go quit your job tomorrow -- we all have a mortgage to pay. (Well, I think we still have to pay for our mortgages, although maybe the government is going to cover that too.) I also just can't advocate slacking on the job. But it does make sense to broaden your storage skill set, beyond what you know today. This is especially important in smaller organizations, where often there is not a "storage guy" -- there is the "IT guy."

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