Forced Out Of My Comfort Zone
I’ve been primarily in server management throughout my IT career. Recently, I vowed to expand my skills into networking. That was an empty promise. I ran into my usual Catch-22 scenario that has plagued me from Day One. The IT teams that I worked with always has a network specialist. In a crisis, the network specialist would dive in and solve the problem. During normal operations, the team would be engrossed in their regular day to day duties. Realistically, if I wanted to get my hands dirty with networking I would need to do it on my own time. But as I ranted before, my free time is now divided between Baby Buck, my blog, and my podcast.
Time To Step Up
The only way out is if I was forced into networking and given no choice. That opportunity is now, as my partner in crime, our company’s network specialist, is out of the office for two weeks due to minor surgery. With my basic networking skills, it was my responsibility to hold down the fort. My first test quickly appeared.
Some old equipment worked in a corner office but failed to communicate in other offices. Long story short, all ports needed to be hard set for 100 Mbps instead if the default 1000 Mbps. I quickly drilled down to the problematic ports and configured them accordingly. Simple to a networking specialist, but slightly nerve racking and uncomfortable for someone who only does this in simulators. I gained confidence through my minor achievement and discovered two critical takeaways.
Reasons To Defer
I normally would defer to the specialist when a problem arises even though I have the skills and knowledge to derive my own solution. One, I am not responsible for the unknown outcome and two, there is no confrontation. With my specialist out of the picture, it’s either I provide the solution or there will be no solution. Also, since I am now the most qualified specialist around. My solution will not be questioned, therefore, no confrontation.
In light of this revelation, I have two choices going forward. Design scenarios where I can’t be questioned, thus avoiding all possible confrontations. Why am I making life so complicated? Deep down do I really want to be a dictator? The more feasible and healthy path is to stretch into other arenas even though there are more qualified specialists around me. Finally, be comfortable with being uncomfortable, leave the ego at the door, and don’t take differences of opinions too personal and label them as confrontations.
What thought process do you go through when stepping out of your comfort zone?