The Career Change

We make choices everyday. Some of the choices are simple. Do I wear pajama pants or jeans today? Am I having breakfast? Do I want coffee? Whether it is a yes or no, those choices are not life changing. However, once in a while there are more complex choices to make. Do I want to move to a different company? Is it time for a career change? Those questions are not easily answered. They require thought. Big changes impact your life. They can impact your family’s lives. Wanting to grow and wanting more led me to ask those questions. The answers led me to a change from a life in operations into a sales role.

Who does not like to be comfortable? Being comfortable and cozy at home on a cold winter’s day is one thing, but being comfortable and cozy in your career can be a problem. The problem with being comfortable is that it can lull you to sleep. Falling asleep on your career is not the right move. It stops you from growing and takes away something you cannot get back: Time. This is why it is important that anyone in tech continues to grow. It is a daily journey. Technology continues to change. So do we. My advice to people is to seek certification. Pursuing a cert puts you in study mode. You can learn something new from every page you read, every video you watch, and every lab you run through. My other piece of advice is to ask for more at work. Make yourself uncomfortable. Working through a project that takes you out of your comfort zone leads to growth. An opportunity came up with a company I’ve had my eye on for a long time, Cisco. The opportunity was a sales role, a Systems Architect. The role of a Systems Architect (SA) is to walk hand-in-hand with a customer in their journey. The SA is a partner with their customers, working on roadmaps and advising in different areas. This is exactly what I was doing as a Network Engineer, but I also had the responsibilities of operations, keeping the lights on. I spent about a decade in a Network Engineering role. I always tried to make an impact each day. As an SA, I would have the opportunity to make an impact at not just one place, but across several customers. I’ve never been in a sales role, but I know what it feels like to be on the other side of the table. I know the pressure customers have within their department and from up above. I took a chance and updated my resume. In the end, it worked out! I made it.

It’s been two months in my new role and I don’t regret making the move. After living my whole career in the world of operations, I am up for a new challenge and taking my skills to the next level. Don’t let your skills become stagnant. Continue to learn and continue to grow. Take a chance on that role you have been looking at for a while. Live outside of your comfort zone. I’m not telling you to run off and leave your job, but if you have not sat down with your leadership and asked for more, do it now.

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