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

By , InfoWorld |  IT Management

Effective IT habit No. 10: Go publicThat doesn't mean issuing your own personal IPO (though if you could pull one off, more power to you). The more people who know and rely on you -- especially outside your department or organization -- the harder it is to fire you, notes Engel.

If you have a client-facing job, you're less likely to feel the ax on your neck because companies don't generally like to fire people who have relationships with key accounts, he says -- provided, of course, you obey Rule No. 9.

If your job doesn't bring you into regular contact with clients, you can strive to become well known across different departments, especially in larger, more siloed enterprises.

"Look for projects and opportunities that cut across departments because this builds your internal network -- thus making you more valuable to the company," he says.

Effective IT habit No. 11: Don't become literally "indispensable"The problem with being labeled indispensable is that it can become a trap. Your talents can become so critical to an organization's survival that you can never leave or rise to a new position within your company, says Steven A. Lowe, CEO of Innovator LLC, a consulting and custom software development firm.

"A friend of mine is an excellent developer who has created a few critical software systems for the company that employs him," Lowe says. "No one else can step in and do what he does, and the company can't 'afford' to promote him to a more senior position or pay him much more money. So he's frustrated and miserable -- but he's certainly indispensable!"

The way to avoid this trap: Don't hoard information or expertise. Delegate responsibility. Start training your own replacement now, or find ways to outsource your current responsibilities so that you can take on more challenging assignments.

"I have been both indispensable and dispensable, and I had better job security and was happier when I was dispensable," says Jen Hancock, author of "The Humanist Approach to Happiness: Practical Wisdom."

Hancock says, "When I was indispensable, things fell apart. If I tried to take a long weekend I came back to a mess I had to clean up. The longer I was away, the worse the mess. When I finally got my act together enough to manage the work and delegate it out properly, everything ran more smoothly."


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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