12 effective habits of indispensable IT pros

Ditch the slackers, take on dirty work, do it with data -- here's how to get the inside track on a highly rewarding career in IT

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Effective IT habit No. 6: Ditch the slackers, find a mentor

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Hanging with a crew that likes to take long lunches and knock off at five (or earlier)? You're not doing your career any good, says David Maxfield, author of "Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success."

"The habits that hold you back are likely enabled, tolerated, or encouraged by others," he says. "Use positive peer pressure by surrounding yourself with hardworking friends who share your career goals. Distance yourself from the office slackers."

Instead, Maxfield advises you seek someone with more experience to steer your career in a positive direction. "Find a trusted mentor," he says. "That will help you navigate the career development opportunities that exist within the organization."

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