Why I Left Corporate IT

Well, the easy answer would be to say that my position was eliminated (i.e. I was laid off), and I never looked back.  But the reality is, I stayed around corporate IT for a few years after that.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I began getting more involved in the business-side of the business, and less involved with traditional IT.  I worked with operations, engineering, support, and most notably, sales.

The transition wasn’t easy and many of my IT friends wonder what I’m doing.  I’ve even had people say “you are a hard guy to figure out”.  Yeah, I guess I am.

The problem I see with most traditional IT shops (but not all of the individuals, this is an over-generalization), is that most of them look at all problems through their particular lens.  For example, if you are a BI guy, then the solution to every problem is a report or dashboard.  If you are a C# developer, then everything can be solved with some code.  If you are a Unified Communications Engineer, then every problem can be solved with better communication tools.

This isn’t a new phenomenon.  20 years ago, Cobol programmers and DB2 DBAs looked at the world through their own lenses as well.  You see, if the only tool in your bag is a hammer, the solution to every problem looks like a nail.

I was fortunate enough in my early career to learn the business side of the equation. A leader I worked with taught me that IT exists to serve the business, not the other way around.  Once I discovered that, my perspective on business and technology changed forever.

Now when I see a business problem (or opportunity), I approach it with an open mind.  I love finding ways to apply technology to solve the issue.  But I’m not stuck on one approach or one technology.  If IT would learn to do that, I believe they would be much more relevant in businesses today.  And maybe they wouldn’t think I was so strange!!  What do you think?