Career advice: Selling the idea of work/life balance
An old-school boss just can't see the value
Computerworld - Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader Kenneth Corless Title: Executive director for business apps Company: Accenture
Corless is this month's Premier 100 IT Leader, answering questions about work/life balance, career paths for a cloud-dominated future and recognizing a group's achievements. If you have a question you'd like to pose to one of our Premier 100 IT Leaders, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My boss is old school when it comes to issues like work/life balance. We have given him articles on the subject to try to convince him that accommodating our personal needs can be good for the business, but he wants a 9-to-5 staff, in the office every day. Any ideas on how to turn him around? I understand. Even the term "work/life balance" feels old school to me. In the always-on, always-connected, global time zone world that we in IT live in, I have replaced the term "work/life balance" with the term "work/life integration."
I have a couple of direct ideas. First, whatever you want to try, put it in the context of a limited pilot. Talk about goals and outcomes, particularly those that are measurable and have a fixed timeline with agreed-upon checkpoints and success criteria.
Second, put your boss on the spot. Ask him for suggestions on things that he would be comfortable trying and under what conditions. Then follow the execution plan outlined above.
Lastly, although you've tried to give him many articles, get him a copy of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. It has really pushed my thinking on this subject.
What would be a good career path for a cloud-dominated future? New technologies always bring a change to the skills necessary across the IT landscape, and the cloud will be no different. Clearly, many of the traditional career paths will still be quite valuable in "a cloud-dominated future." Careers built around deep technical expertise, ability to deliver, systems integration and bridging the business-IT divide have withstood the onslaught of change from past technologies waves and will likely survive the cloud.
Some narrow functions in IT (like hardware procurement) might disappear from most IT shops (of course, someone will still have to do it for the cloud providers!), but we have already seen new roles around managing the virtual infrastructure popping up in heavy cloud or virtualization shops.
My advice is to focus on something that you have a deep passion for. That drive will keep you at the top of the value heap, which is always a safe place to be in an ever-changing world.
My group has delivered for me and the business in amazing ways over the past year, considering that we've had a lower head count and budget. I want to show my appreciation in a way that would be meaningful to them, but obviously it can't cost a lot of money. Any suggestions? The obvious easy place to start: Say, "Thanks." Say it sincerely. And regularly. And sometimes publicly (do you blog?). It's easy to rationalize that they already know that you appreciate them and are proud of them. There's no downside in telling them.
Here are two other ideas that are simple and low-cost. 1) Invite them to your home for dinner. It doesn't have to be a fancy catered deal -- potluck or even pizza is fine, but the personal touch can be meaningful. 2) When the weather is nice, organize a group outing/picnic focused on traditional team-building exercises (ideas here).
More Ask a P100 IT Leader columns
- Career advice: Learn from your mistakes
- Career advice: Moving into Internet security
- Career advice: What separates leaders from managers?
- Career advice: Do IT pros need to know about business?
- Career advice: Initiating change from below
- Career advice: Where to focus? Data, data, data
- Career advice: Moving to the public sector
- Career advice: Fiftysomething and looking for a job
- Career advice: Making IT more influential in the business
- Career advice: Grasping the business
Read more about Management in Computerworld's Management Topic Center.
- Study: Total Economic Impact of Google Apps Employees can work faster and IT spending can decrease when companies switch to Google Apps, says a commissioned study by Forrester Consulting. Going...
- Protecting Digitalized Assets in Healthcare Healthcare providers face an urgent, internal battle every day: security and compliance versus productivity and service. For most healthcare organizations, the fight is...
- Is a SaaS Deployment Right for You? Find out the answer and as well as the other deployment options.
- Discover How Mail Express Solves 2 of Your Biggest IT Headaches Email. It can be the source of some of IT's biggest headaches. As it eats up storage and bandwidth, it also opens up...
- Increasing the Value of Your Reports and Dashboards Learn how incorporating other analytical capabilities such as predictive modeling and visualization can increase the value of your reports and dashboards by providing...
- Video surveillance for IT: maximum image quality, minimum bandwidth Join us on Thursday, May 8th at 1 p.m. EST when Willem Ryan, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Avigilon, will discuss how IT... All Management White Papers | Webcasts