This fits with the firm's IT strategy of appointing leaders to conceptualize business strategy first then develop technology tools next. "We are in the strategy game now, not just the technology game," Garland says. "In addition to being cutting-edge technology specialists, our IT professionals are proactive business leaders across all of our service lines."
And nothing says dead end like a lack of leadership opportunities.
5. Training is encouraged -- on your own time or dime
Let's say you want to learn a new programming language or develop some business management skills, but the only way to do this is by paying for classes yourself and taking them on the weekend or at night. You might just be training yourself for a new job at a new employer.
Companies that are invested in their employees are willing to pick up the tab to train them. They also offer career development initiatives, such as formal or informal mentorship programs, says Melisa Bockrath, vice president of the IT Americas product group at Kelly Services, a staffing services firm.
Some even allow employees to rotate through various projects, exposing them to new technologies as well as different parts of the business, Bockrath says.
So if attending an offsite workshop or an industry conference is a stretch for your current employer, it's probably time to expand your horizons elsewhere.
6. The vision for IT is cloudy or conflicted
Working in an environment where strategic goals for IT department are vague or contradictory is a recipe for frustration. Worse, it can indicate that management is conflicted over the long-term role and value of IT.
"People value workplaces where they feel that they have a meaningful purpose, both as a group and as individuals," says Mike O'Dell, senior vice president and CIO at retailer Raley's Family of Fine Stores. "The painstaking and usually slow process of building leadership, creating a mission, and developing a culture of excellence" is how successful companies foster this sense of purpose.
If your company hasn't put in this work, or is showing signs of backing away from it, it may be because IT is viewed as back-office commodity work, ripe for cost-cutting measures.
Or it may be simply a matter of weak management within IT.
"We've all heard for years that employees don't leave organizations -- they leave because of direct management," Kelly Services' Bockrath says.
Superiors who lack leadership skills or are ineffective at communicating the value IT can derail the career goals of those who report to them. Don't miss the signals.
7. Teamwork feels like a thing of the past
Poor teamwork often leads to failed projects. The problem is that while the project is in motion, it's not always easy to spot poor teamwork in action.
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