It is often said that the best infrastructure is invisible because you don’t even know it is there until it breaks. In Telecoms, it means that the network should simply work without problems and the Technical Team responsible for that network remains behind the scenes, out of view.
For telecom engineers, this approach can have negative consequences. For example, maybe you have done a great job but you never got any recognition. The best boss I ever had, Eddie, felt this was how things were supposed to be. Eddie was always proud, but a little uncomfortable, when his Technical team won awards, which frequently they did, within the company. Eddie was CTO at that time and felt that Engineers belonged in the background, out of sight, dragging their knuckles quietly, certainly not on stage accepting awards in recognition of their outstanding performance.
It is much more likely that Engineers will get lots of the wrong kind of recognition, not awards. You know what I’m talking about, the kind of recognition which comes oh so quickly when there are service interruptions, network impairments or subscriber impacts. This is never the kind of recognition an engineer wants! It usually means long hours making repairs, with your boss and his boss in your face, too many uncomfortable questions and some difficult explanations.
So how can an engineer get the right kind of recognition? What accomplishments will be most helpful at bonus time? What successes can you put on your resume when you start looking for a job?
Delivering a smooth-running, outage-free network is hard enough, and being successful at it doesn’t win the dove. What does get an Engineer recognized in the right way is cutting costs. Cutting costs, what I like to call “Cost Containment”, is fabulous medicine for any network. When the same service can be offered at lower cost or when additional services can be offered at about the same cost, there is no end to the joy the company will show you.
So if Cost Containment, is your goal, how to achieve it? Honestly, there are millions of ways to answer that question. Once you accept that Cost Containment is such a wonderful thing you simply need to always keep it at the front of your mind. Ways to cut costs will occur to you as quickly as the tasks are assigned. And as you continually chant the mantra of Cost Containment, both recognition and reward will soon follow. This is the very best way to be seen as a leader in the business, even if your job title is not often associated with leadership. If you are seen to be a cost containment leader, your job title will quickly change.
I’ll be writing frequently on this subject. My goal is to help technical Telecoms people, Engineers, technicians, IT Professionals, all these technical folks succeed in their careers.
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