Have you been "downsized" out of a position? If the answer is "yes," what is/was your strategy for moving on and thriving in the IT field?
In addition to sharing your experiences in the Community, InfoSecurity Professional would like to hear from you. ISP is the bi-monthly journal for (ISC)2 members. We are working on an article about developing a game-plan for keeping your IT career moving despite a "bump in the road." You may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking forward to hearing your stories. Thanks!
Managing Editor, InfoSecurity Professional
Yes it happened to me, and internal politics and favoritism (not being part of inner circle) as well as some r___ism all played a huge role. I used that as trigger to push myself to study and obtained several certifications.
One important lesson is: don't wait till it happens, be prepared and have a plan B for "pre-downsizing" even if it is not on the horizon. In technology field, one needs to constantly learning and improving oneself, and always be looking out for opportunities for strengthening the resume. Not necessarily job-hopping all the time, which is actually bad, but be ready when things happen.
Disaster Recover / Career Continuity Planning, to put in that way.
So I went through a downsizing when I was a Business Continuity Planner. The organization was facing a downturn in the economy and it was decided that we did not need two Continuity planners. Even though I had seniority in the position, I was junior in company seniority so I was listed to be right-sized (that meant that I was a free agent and my skills would be evaluated by many managers).
I had worked in IT as a Computer Operator, an Office Automation Specialist and a VAX System Manager, so I had some skills.
There were a number of people in the same boat as me. So, each of us was interviewed by various managers to determine whether we were a fit for their open positions or replace someone with even less company seniority ( yes this meant that we could be displacing someone else in the organization). Not a good feeling.
In my case, I lucked into Information Security. The Audit firm that was doing the Right-sizing, made a point that there was no Information Security group/person, etc., except for an ACF2 admin and that there should be a more formal approach. Thank you Big Five audit firm. The day of the interview came and I noted that there were ten of us sitting waiting. I thought my chances are slim to nothing. I had limited actual information security experience.
During the interview I was asked some very basic questions, like did I know what ACF2 was, did I understand what the Ethernet was, and what was my motive in applying for the job? I was able to get by these questions relatively easily but the last question that the interviewer asked came as a surprise “Do you know what Kerberos is?”. My reply was simple, yes it was the three-headed dog that guarded Hell but then again, and it is also a Security authentication system. Glad I didn’t stop at the dogs of Hades….
Next thing, I knew I was being congratulated on getting the job (there were still five folks sitting waiting for interviews).
I was ecstatic and scared at the same time. What had I gotten myself into? I knew very little about Information Security. Best thing here, was that I did not replace anyone and was given the opportunity to build the Information Security group with the assistance of the Audit firm.
I fell into the Security job and never looked back. My strategy was to learn new things as rapidly as I could, stay current with new technologies and yes expand my horizons into other ares of IT. I found that by expanding my knowledge in other areas, I also grew professionally in the Security field.
I think the thing to remember is never be afraid to learn something new things and always ask questions.
Fortunate for me this was the last time that I was downsized but like I said I did learn a valuable lesson. I continue learning everyday by mentoring, reading, writing articles, exchanging information with others and sponsoring folks into positions.
Some time in most careers it will happen or you may need to look around proactively to keep ahead of the custs.
In my experience the most important thing to do is to keep up to date; by reviewing what you've achieved periodically, keeping your resume up to date and having a skill set that remains relevant over time. The other important thing is to thinking through what you say about being terminated, as you can't afford to be bitter about it. An event like losing your job may allow you to re-evaluate and used your existing skill set to do something different in the medium to longer term. If you're offered any form of outplacement counselling then take it.
Yes, you can bag some additional qualifications and training, but these are foot in the door measures that will get you past recruiters first filter, but won't make you stand out.
Thanks for posting your story. And I'd like to hear more about. Please email me at email@example.com. Even if you'd rather not do an on-the-record interview for the magazine article I'm working on, I'd still like to get some insight from you.