Beware: Two Pitfalls of Attitude
For the job seeker/career move, attitude is not everything, but its role must not be diminished. Certainly, it can provide a leg up on the competition. However, it cannot overcome unrealistic expectations or huge skill deficits.
Unrealistic expectations typically come in the form of salary requirements and ideas on how quickly one should advance in a role. The myriad of certification and training advertisements has done little to control this. Radio and print advertisement routinely tote the message of "high salary" in no time, after completing your certification program.
Although this might have been true in the talent-hungry 1990s, a backlash I call "certification cynicism" has infected the hiring attitudes among many companies. Newbies, those who entered the industry during the technology talent gold rush, have discovered that companies are paying little credence to their certifications and placing the emphasis on proven experience.
It is not that I dissuade anyone from going after a degree or certification to bolster their career chances. Believe me, both are positive. What I am trying to dissuade is the expectation by the prospective employee that degrees and certifications are going to create opportunities in and of themselves.
Your attitude can open a lot of doors. If yours is properly placed, it can serve you well in overcoming any skills deficit that you might have. Although companies are hesitant to hire unproven talent, a consistent application of positive work ethic and a willingness to take on new projects without immediate gratification—the expectation of a bonus or pay raise for each new skill developed—can open doors that were previously barred shut. When an employer discovers someone who is willing to, in fact, request new projects, he will respond. If that employee can proactively develop new solutions while enhancing his skills, management will reward him.