Peeves, Pitfalls and Pickles: Part 2
© Douglas E. Welch 1997
Not every person wants to be a computer support person. This is
above and beyond the usual requirements of knowing how to use
your computer for your job. Sometimes when you become recognized
as a computer expert you might find yourself being overworked
and underpaid in a profession you never really wanted.
What's the job description?
How you deal with the above situation will depend heavily on your
plans for the future. People who show aptitude for computer skills
are often turned into the local computer guru for an otherwise
non-technical work group. For example, a CAD (computer-aided design)
operator may know quite a bit about the computer as well as design.
Even though he was hired as a CAD operator, he may soon end up
spending the majority of his time assisting other CAD operators
with their computer problems, developing templates and installing
This can be an excellent career direction if it is one you want
to follow. Some people, though, do not wish to fall into this
role. They want to continue doing what they were hired to do,
not provide computer support to everyeone else. Only you can make
this decision and it must be based not only on your wishes but
also on the effect the change might have on your employability
elsewhere. It will improve your job prospects in the support field
but might change how people view your skills and tallents.
The Flip Side
The other side of this coin is a person who wants to move from
computer work into another, perhaps creative, area of the company.
Experience has shown me that this is one of the most difficult
routes to take. It is somewhat foolhardy to assume that joining
a company as a computer worker will provide in-roads into another
part of the company.
The problem stems from most people's ability to see other people
as one stereotypical entity. Managers in other departments will
only see you as a computer support person, network manager or
other computer staffer. It will be very hard to provide them a
new image of you regardless of your skills in their area.
Success in this endeavor also calls for a great desire. You will
have to work doubly hard to establish your credentials in this
new field while still performing your current job to the highest
levels. Failure in either of these will nearly guarantee failure
In most cases, the only true way of moving from a computer field
into a different field is leaving your current company and position.
You can then enter another company without the stigma of your
previous career clouding people's minds. Eventually, you can then
re-apply to your old company in your new position. It is a long
road but often the only one that works effectively.
Douglas E. Welch is a freelance writer and computer consultant
in Van Nuys, California. Readers can discuss career issues with
other readers by joining the Career Opportunities Discussion on
Douglas' web page at: http://home.earthlink.net/~dewelch/
He can reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org