This editorial was originally published on Mar 5, 2009. It is being re-run as Steve is on vacation.
I have a presentation that I give to a number of user groups on how to better brand yourself in these modern times. It's based on my experiences over the last decade as I've grown my brand and been successful doing so based on the number of jobs I've been offered. I've drawn upon a lot of my experiences, as well as conversations I've had with others about what's worked for them as well as what hasn't.
I noticed that I'm not the only person thinking about this and read a great blog by Kendal Van Dyke on Showing Your Value that covers some similar ideas. He talks about showing your value to your employer, which is something that I bring up in my presentation, and I think is important in these turbulent times.
I'm not sure what the outlook is for DBAs and developers in 2009. I keep seeing information that shows things are going well for IT employees interspaced with all the announcements of cost-cutting and layoffs. I've talked with people that have a number of open positions and are hiring. I've talked to some that are reducing staff through attrition and have no plans to lay people off, and I've talked with people that have been told their company will downsize. I think it really depends on your company's particular situation, and you should try to learn as much as you can about that.
Regardless of whether you need to look for a job or not, I do think that it pays to look for ways to bring value to your employer, and your own career as well. And I think that you should document those things. You should know what you've accomplished over the last xxx months and be ready to bring that to the attention of your management during review time.
Part of being a professional, in my opinion, is helping others do their jobs better. It might be passing along knowledge, it might be making a suggestion or giving someone a tool they can use, it might be changing the way you do something to save resources. These are things you can just do in a humble way, as a part of your daily work. I know many people are uncomfortable with being in the spotlight and bringing attention to themselves and that's fine.
However in our busy lives, with so much happening in our careers, it's easy for your boss to forget how much you've done to help out him and/or the company. Keeping a record of these things, and bringing them to his attention is a good idea. It's important for you to ensure you are managing your career and not letting it drag you along.
And if you don't have any way of showing your value, perhaps you ought to think about that as well.
The Voice of the DBA Podcasts
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