Tech Manager—The Best is Yet to Come—or is it Already Here?
With the Annual Salary Review being published by AUGI, most of you are thinking... “Can I do better? Are others making more than me? Is it really time to make a move?” or you may be saying to yourself, “I have the best job in the world and I am also making good money.” Whether you are in the first category (need a change) or the latter (I am good), you are pondering the options, weighing the good and the bad, looking around and thinking of what might be next.
It is easy to see the problems and the complaint areas. They hit you in the face every day, or week, and you get frustrated with having to put up with the same issues again and again. It might be the benefits, the pay, the work environment, or a cranky boss or co-worker... but they are easy to spot and easy to let get under your skin.
But that is not my tack for this article. I want to look at the positives. I want to think back to when you were most happy in your work (and it might be right now). I want you to review the niceties that you have going for you at your work.
This is consistently among the highest-ranking impacts on job satisfaction and whether you are engaged and thriving at work. The impact of COVID on the workflow can impact your relationships mechanics, but the people you work with can either make it a pleasure or a challenge when trying to get things done. Think about how you transitioned to remote work or how you have re-entered the workplace. The people make it happen. Are they flexible? Can they adapt? Are they stuck trying to return to the exact normal they left? Working with resilient people makes you resilient also. People that work well together are not easy to come by.
The actual work that you do each day/week/year can make it exciting to come to work. It can make you eager to get online and make plans for coordinating the work. The projects that your firm works on can be invigorating or tedious. They can energize or they can drain you. If you work with a firm that has exciting clients with great projects… count that as a win.
When it comes to projects, does your firm make progress on them? If they are striving for new ways to become more productive, seek out new project models, and partner with great contractors and consultants, then you have a nice workplace.
Do you have job stability? Being at a stable firm now is critical. You do not want to join the rolls of the unemployed. Your firm may be on shaky ground or rock solid. If they are stable, with a backlog of project ahead of them, that is good. If they have an expanding client list, that is great. If they have an increase in workload, that is fabulous.
Does your firm have a purpose other than just making money? Do they think of the environment and social issues? Firms should be caring for their employees. They should do some pro-bono work. They should care about the neighborhood and city where the building is located. Contributing to park spaces, caring for the homeless, working with youth in the local region. It may be a little or a lot, but they should be doing something. If they are, then count that among the perks of being their employee. They are looked at by the community as a great resource for manpower and support.
The building you work in is key to satisfaction. If you are back in the building, have they retrofitted to support social distancing and hygiene needs? If you are working from home, do they empower you to get the hardware you need? The connectivity, the training? Working from home can be a taxing time or a blessing. The firm can support your efforts if they understand your situation (kids, no kids) and empower you to be productive.
The benefits, time off, vacation, flexibility, working hours, etc. All of these add up to fulfillment in your career. What do you really need or want? Is it time off? Is it better medical? Is it flexibility in your work hours? If you can score a win in the key areas... it is a win overall.
The culture of your firm contributes in a sometimes-hidden way to your gratification in your work life. No one wants to work with grumpy people that cannot get along. No one likes to not have supportive staff that will come alongside and help when you need them. No one really cares about the formal job description and what might fall outside of it when they need help. If your firm has been knocked around, do the top leaders show positive attitudes about the future? If so, that will allow the staff to press on, even when things are tough.
Not personnel – I am not talking about the staff. I am talking about you. You should bring your best game to work each day. Others are impacted by your efforts, attitudes, diligence, dependability, and expertise. You are key to their contentment. You feed off them and they feed off of you. Bring a positive bent and others will catch the focus and move along with you. Help them have a great place to work.
I put this last on purpose. Money isn’t everything. It is very important, but not king. If you are struggling to make ends meet with the salary you have, you may be underpaid. Add a new skill and move up the ladder. Seek new responsibilities and pay will eventually rise along with your career. But do not boil it all down to what you are paid. Getting more money at another firm might lose you all the other great things on the list above. Get the education, training skills and talent you need to make a decent wage, but do not expect the world to pay more for the same skills you have now. Only by expanding can you garner more money, with the firm you are at now, or with another.
All in all, looking at the salary survey can be depressing or comforting, depending on where you are in your career stages. Let others know if you feel you are underpaid and use the survey to help demonstrate that, but do not leave out the intangibles of what makes for a great workplace.
Mark Kiker has more than 25 years of hands-on experience with technol-ogy. He is fully versed in every area of management from deployment plan-ning, installation, and configuration to training and strategic planning. As an internationally known speaker and writer, he is a returning speaker at Autodesk University since 1996. Mark is currently serving as Direc-tor of IT for SIATech, a non-profit public charter high school focused on dropout recovery. He maintains two blog sites, www.caddmanager.com and www.bimmanager.com.