Breaking up isn’t always that hard to do

Recently it became clear to me that it was time to leave my present job and find new challenges. I’ll bet many of you have experienced something similar. IT managers are often brought into complex situations. Sometimes the complexities involve personnel, sometimes technology, sometimes vision and sometimes a combination of these. Whichever the motivator, it’s our job to make the complex simple again.

If you’re good at your job, you’ll sometimes find that once you’ve resolved all the issues, there’s no challenge left. That sort of thing usually happens in old, established companies or organizations. More dynamic companies invent new challenges as you’re working on the older ones, so you’ll never be bored and you’ll never be “done.”

As for me, I tendered my resignation a week ago. By doing this I’m breaking one of the cardinal rules of job hunting: “Never leave a job until you have a new one.” But generalizations can’t always be trusted. Sometimes circumstances combine to make leaving the best possible choice, and for me this is definitely true. The opportunity to work creatively is a very important part of my job satisfaction. When those opportunities are exhausted, my job satisfaction goes way down.

There’s another good reason for considering a change. Another important rule states: “If it isn’t fun, it isn’t worth doing.” Having fun in your job is massively important. If you don’t like your job, you don’t like your life. If you don’t like your life, you probably don’t think a lot of yourself, either.

Some of you may not have the financial resources to be out of work for a while. If that’s your situation, then you obviously shouldn’t jump now. Wait. Plan. Investigate new opportunities. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel just by deciding to do something.

If you think it’s time for you to go, leave on good terms. Be discreet and respectful toward your current employer. They deserve your loyalty by having trusted you and your job skills since they hired you. Get a letter of recommendation before you leave. Don’t use company resources in your search; remember that e-mail isn’t private and your employer could discover what you’re doing long before you want them to know. When it’s time to leave, leave happy. Look back at all you’ve accomplished and realize that the organization is a better place for your having worked there.

Other than taking flight without knowing where I’ll land, I’m trying to follow my own advice. Luckily I have a few options. I’m looking at job opportunities in South Florida (I’ve had this crazy idea about living on a boat for a long time), I still have my Cisco CCIE to finish, and I might do some consulting. It’s time for me to spread my wings

and fly.

Shapiro is (for a little while longer) the director of technology for the Kingsport, Tenn., City School District. He can be reached at