Time and Technology

By Eileen Feretic  |  Posted Thursday, March 04, 2010 19:03 PM


It's human nature to stay with things we feel comfortable with: people, places, jobs, even old clothes. But that puts us in a box of our own making. When we cling to the comfortable, we don't open our minds and hearts to new--and hopefully better--experiences, places, friends, careers and ways of doing the things we've always done.

These days, staying in our comfort zones can be costly, especially when it comes to careers. To paraphrase a well-worn expression, "time and technology wait for no one." If we continue to work the way we've worked for years, we will inevitably make ourselves obsolete.

This doesn't mean we should throw out everything and start from scratch. There are many things in life that are worth preserving. It's simply a question of deciding what to keep, what to improve and what to toss. The question may be simple, but coming up with the right answer isn't, because it involves economic, logistical, political and emotional issues.

However, when it comes to learning new skills and new ways to do things on the job, that should be a no-brainer. To stay relevant is to stay viable--and employed.

In our industry, there are many ways to keep pace with the technology. In addition to courses offered by their employers and local colleges, tech pros can involve themselves in organizations such as SHARE (www.share.org), ISACA (www.isaca.org) and AFCOM (www.afcom.com).

I recently spoke with Jill Eckhaus, the CEO of the educational organization AFCOM, which runs the Data Center World educational conference (www.datacenterworld.com). She emphasized how critical it is for technology professionals to stay on top of leading trends, including virtualization, green IT, cloud computing and cyber-terrorism--topics that will be covered in AFCOM's latest conference, held March 7-11 in Nashville.

Eckhaus was especially vocal about cyber-terrorism, pointing to an AFCOM survey that included a frightening statistic: "Although 60.9 percent of all data centers worldwide have officially recognized cyber-terrorism as a threat that must be dealt with, only a little over one-third have actually included it in their disaster/recovery plans; only a little over one-quarter address it in their policies and procedures manuals; and less than one-fifth provide any cyber-terrorism response or prevention training to employees."

Here's another case of people desperate to stay in their comfort zone: "A terror attack will never happen to us." It's time to face today's reality: No one is safe from cyber-terrorism. We need to take action, and educating ourselves is a big step in the right direction.

Being in the technology industry is exciting--there's always something new to learn. But it's also challenging--because there's always something new to learn.

We all have a decision to make: We can stay in our comfort zone and keep doing things the way we've always done them, or we can break free from the past and embrace the challenge and chaos of today's world. It's your choice--and mine.

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