We all have moments when work-life balance collapses. Time fire-fighting takes over time dedicated for more meaningful work. Whether you’re beginning in network security or have a number of years under your belt – there are always moments when our original motivation dwindles.
So how do we re-ignite our passion and career in these lack-luster moments? We sourced insights from our online community of network security professionals, Indeni Crowd, to help us stay inspired at any career stage. You can view and contribute to this conversation and others regarding professional development on our Indeni Crowd Forum.
1. “Keep on, keepin’ on!”
Push forward when you’re not motivated
Motivation is fickle, and sometimes unreliable when work is challenging. However, having a consistent regimen can help you push forward and get through the low patches. Brad Spilde, an Indeni Knowledge Expert and Security Architect, keeps the following schedule:
- 8:30 AM – Arrive at work, begin sifting through all alerts that accumulated overnight
- 9:30 AM – Stand up/ SCRUM for network and then security teams
- 10:00 AM – Large team project time and a little standard work
- 1:30 PM – Mailbox checkup/answer user questions (“Is this SPAM!?”)
- 2:00 PM – Maintenance, troubleshooting, finding resolutions, small projects
- 5:00 PM – Wrap up project, end of the day vendor support calls, best time to diagnose a problem with a vendor.
- 1:00 AM – On-call for international support
Ragchaa Jamganjav (Technical Project Manager) advises advance preparation for work and tries to bunch his large projects in the afternoon / early evening so they can be addressed in one block. His aims to have all meetings are normally in the morning.
Selvaraj Subramaniam (Senior Network Engineer) has his own routine of tackling large projects in the morning, and focusing on troubleshooting, maintenance, and small projects later in the day.
Pinpoint what works for you, commit to it ahead of time, and use it to help keep momentum from your day-to-day.
2. Do what works!
Identify and nurture top factors that have helped you succeed in the past
We surveyed a handful of community members, and they identified self-learning and happiness with their work as the highest factors in their career success. Other factors included a good boss and education. What are the top factors that have helped you succeed in your journey? How can you nurture these factors?
3. Mix it up
Change positions or industries
You may discover that you want to change the field you’re working in. It will take work, but it’s possible. Adam Erickson began working as a water treatment specialist when he realized he “longed for a change.” His brother suggested a career switch into IT networking.
Adam now says, “I truly can say that I love configuring routers and switches and [it] is even more amazing how I think of data centers and enterprise systems.”
If you’re looking to change careers or paths within network security, lean on family, friends, or old colleagues for advice or help facilitating a jump. They may or may not be directly related to the field you’re interested in, but they could still offer valuable help; just look at Adam and his brother. Feel free to reach out to each other through our Forum as well.
4. Remember you’re not alone
If you’re wrestling through a recent professional set back, know that others have been in the same spot, and there’s hope ahead! Visit our thread of IT Horror Stories to see others who have encountered some pretty harrowing scenarios but made it out alive.
5. Build relationships and enjoy your hobbies!
Life isn’t all work – we’re made for play! Ovidiu said that he primarily builds relationships with his colleagues doing things “not necessarily related to work”but through “common passions about cars and hobbies.” Others’ hobbies include:
- Rabbit raising, Krav Maga and other martial arts, and fruit tree gardening (James Fraze)
- Triathlons (John Christly)
- Guitar, piano, and haunted house construction (Jason White)
- Golf and traveling (James Lewis)
- Motorsport and racing (Mark Oldham)
- Singing karaoke (Arun David Johnson)
6. Remind yourself of your original excitement
Work will not always be a “passion” for everyone. Often, it is a job you have to do to fulfill responsibilities or to provide for yourself and family. But there are always opportunities to try something new or master a developing skill, you just have to keep your eyes and ears open. These can re-ignite sparks of passion that inspired you to begin this work in the first place.
For example, remember what brings you wonder. Adam Erickson (the IT networker mentioned above who made a career transition) ensures that he spends time on what is fascinating:
“For me making end to end communications work is awesome – it can be stressful but when you have moments when you feel like a kid and have that “Ah Ha!” moment of NOW it’s working – that’s how you know you have found one of your passions in life.”
Thank you to those in the community whose insight helped form this piece! To continue the discussion, visit our Indeni Crowd Forum’s Professional Development category.