Many people find comfort in being a big fish in a small pond. They surround themselves with individuals who they feel are less extraordinary than they are, or less talented, and enjoy standing out as the “best” in a particular crowd of people.
Some even engage in this behavior when it comes to their careers. They either consciously or unconsciously choose to stay in one department or position, doing just enough to remain employed but never excelling in order to grow or achieve a promotion.
However, for some people, it simply is not enough. There are those who unwittingly put themselves into a position where they cannot advance and grow.
Rather than consciously choosing to be moderately better in a group of mediocre talents, they simply landed there and have not been able to find a way out. Particularly in an information technology field like SAP, more lucrative opportunities await those who are willing to change, grow, and advance. For those who are stuck in a rut, you may be asking yourself how advancement might be possible.
Perhaps you have looked for opportunities but found them few and far between, particularly in an economy that currently favors inexpensive IT solutions from offshore providers. You’ve sought out a position that is the next step up from your current job, but been unable to snag one that you feel comfortable with. Everything else simply seems out of your league.
Perhaps you need to reconsider your approach. Rather than grabbing at this low-hanging fruit, what about looking a few steps – or even a giant leap – ahead of where you think you should be?
Most people will tune out at this point. After all, isn’t there a pecking order? You start at the bottom and work your way up, just like everyone else. However, this “tried and true” wisdom doesn’t quite explain the young CEO at the top of the company or the person who is near retirement that is still in the same clerking job as when he started 30 years ago. Also, doesn’t rubbing elbows with upper echelons seem a bit traitorous after spending so long complaining about them around the water cooler? So, the cycle continues.
For those who are more interested in becoming the young CEO – or perhaps instead the young Chief Technology Officer – or at least avoiding a position as the near-retirement-age clerk, read on.
There is something you should know, at least if you are reading this: you are probably smarter than you really think you are.
Consider this analogy: picture someone who wants to be good at a sport, such as football (soccer). They play, they practice, and they develop their skills. Would you ever advise them to just stick with the same team, playing with the same people over and over again?
That is not the right path for an athlete to take, and it is not the right path for someone in a career they are passionate about. A football player must continually play in new teams, against new teams, with better and better players around in order to grow. The same goes for IT professionals, including those who have chosen to specialize in SAP.
If a particular job you are considering in order to advance your career seems out of your reach, step back and ask yourself if perhaps you aren’t sabotaging yourself in order to feel more comfortable. Look at the position again. Is there something familiar there that you can find? How can you grow your skills in order to fulfill more of the job requirements and responsibilities than you currently think you can?
Particularly with SAP, there are a plethora of training courses available to grow your skills quickly, even if you are starting from the beginning. In addition, if you are coming from a background in a particular area of business, you may find certain aspects of SAP come to you more intuitively than you might think, as you start out understanding the business processes that SAP maps itself to and can leverage this knowledge to gain a better understanding of its functionality.
So, if you are able to formulate a strategic action plan of using your current skills and building on them, it might be time to apply for that “reach” job.
You see, like in football, in order to grow as an IT professional, you have to be willing to stretch yourself and surround yourself with different and better players. As you achieve higher success, you will often find that you belong in positions you never thought you could achieve.
Your skills will grow and you will achieve the level they need to be at in order to fit in with the individuals you’ve chosen to surround yourself with.
What are you thinking?