Don’t let your career meet the same fate as Vista

It seems like it was just yesterday when Microsoft released Vista. I was working for a technology company in central Illinois at the time and we had a Vista release party. There was quite a bit of excitement and anticipation about the new OS but many people had a wait and see approach. I remember speaking with quite a few people in the IT industry during the event and the majority of people felt that XP was a reliable OS but liked the new bells and whistles that were associated with Vista. It wasn’t very long after Vistas release that many people became disenchanted with the product for a number of reasons. Mainly people were frustrated with the two following issues:

- Many printers that would work on XP couldn’t work on Vista because the new print drivers weren’t available

- With the amount of memory that was required to run Vista at it’s peak level many people were forced to upgrade their system but didn’t get the upgrade they were hoping for in performance.

As a result Vista quickly gained a reputation for not being compatible with other products and not coming close to delivering on all the hype that surrounded the marketing behind it. Vista worked so well that people are thrilled about Windows 7 just because “anythings better then Vista”. (Well maybe not Windows ME)

After taking a closer look at the two major issues Vista had I realized many of us can run into these same issues in our own careers. Lets examine the printer issue first:

- Many printers that would work on XP couldn’t work on Vista because the new print drivers weren’t available

When you join an organization especially as a young professional one of the most important things to remember is that it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re “backwards compatible” with the veterans of the company. Most of your new team members will be very open to hearing new ideas but also want to make sure that you’re willing to work within the previously established framework. Just because you might have an idea that you feel is better and more efficient then the current system in place doesn’t mean that the team should have to completely change their established methods to accommodate you. Odds are very good that due to lessons learned in the past before you arrived on the scene is the reason behind such processes and procedures. Building trust with team members first and incorporating your ideas within the previously designed structure is a much more effective route to take.

The second issue of return on investment leads to another potential pitfall:

- With the amount of memory that was required to run Vista at it’s peak level many people were forced to upgrade their system but didn’t get an upgrade in performance.

When a new person is added to a company there’s always a price tag associated the role. Typically the higher the position the higher the price tag. When a company makes an investment in an individual predetermined results are expected or there’s a serious problem. The vast majority of the time both parties engaging in an employment agreements clearly understand whats expected on both sides. When the company doesn’t feel that they are getting a return on investment that they would like they usually sever the relationship rather quickly. By giving a very accurate picture to your employer about what tasks you are capable of performing you can have your company avoid the same “buyers remorse” that many companies felt after purchasing Vista.

As a professional always make sure you’re performing up to the highest standards you’re capable of because if your employer views you as a copy of Vista I can almost gaurantee you Windows 7 is on the horizon.

Views: 80

Comment by Charles Van Heerden on November 2, 2009 at 8:20pm
Eric, software upgrades is an excellent analogy for the need to consider compatibility issues and managing expectations.

We all hope Windows 7 will be a better bet, as I still have one PC running Vista. Over the last couple of years I have switched to Apple and has never looked back. The last PC will be replaced next year with the new iMac.

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