Soft Skills Lacking - Shooting Self in Foot?

That Random GuyThat Random Guy Member Posts: 65 ■■■□□□□□□□
edited September 2019 in Professional Development
*Note: TL;DR @ bottom

Hello,

I'm kind of in a weird spot now that I'm 4 months in my first legitimate IT role. I'm in all regards—excluding title—a glorified helpdesk tech.

[TANGENT START]
This company is way small and the knights of the office I'm at are the devs. They are basically the ones treated like royalty due to the fact that the major output of the company is.... you guessed it... software.

I wouldn't mind the role as much if it didn't feel like I was being thrown to the wolves. The guy who I've been shadowing for only a couple months has already decided to move on—and he was new!

The meetings I've had with upper management have all screamed messages of "you need to be up to pace with everything we've done since starting this company and you also need to be up to par with the skill-set/work-execution of the previous employees".

My immediate answer to this is "why should I?!"
[TANGENT END]

I am by nature, a very introverted person. I do not seek meaningless conversation nor do I engage in pointless, time-wasting conversations with other coworkers. I honestly don't find the need to and I don't care to invest myself in their lives any more than I already am.

Due to that, I've been noticing weird behaviors in response to my behavior where I haven't ever been hostile to anyone. Just because I don't start chatting up with someone at the water cooler doesn't mean I'm not friendly. I always try to be as friendly as I can so that they'll want to come to me when they have problems. I smile (most of the time) and I ask people if they're doing OK (with their equipment).

I will admit that my social skills are not the best around but I do my job. That should be all anyone cares about but it's not the simple, apparently.

I get off fine with my teammates. Again, I don't chat on during the day... which might be awkward to some, but then again I'm not that interesting of a person.

TL;DR:

I'm becoming very self-aware to the fact that people in my office are starting to regard me as someone who they might not want to depend on.

I'm still fulfilling requests and I'm doing my job as best as I can considering it's my first. The fact remains that that degree I spent 4 years working towards didn't prep me for anything I'm experiencing now. Even from a technical perspective, unless you've actually used the tools and have experience going through the many processes involved in a real-world/production environment, you aren't being setup to succeed. You're just being setup with the bare-minimum and that's discerning. It doesn't help that the leadership here isn't ideal in that they have the most unrealistic of expectations and seem to just believe that IT can do anything. Their style is to delegate with the minimalist prep.

What role or position in IT would I be a better fit for?

This job is way too service-oriented and I'm constantly feeling as though I'm not cut out for it. I thought being a Security Analyst would be my dream job but I don't really even know what one would be expected to do.

Comments

  • iBrokeITiBrokeIT GDSA, GRID, GICSP, GCIP, GXPN, GPEN, GWAPT, GCFE, GCIA, GCIH, GSEC, Pen+, CySA+, Sec+, N+, A+, eJPT Member Posts: 1,315 ■■■■■■■■■□

    I'm 4 months in my first legitimate IT role.

    This is going to be really tough for you to hear but your poor attitude and inflated ego are the majority of your problem here.  Start by fixing those.  It doesn't matter what position you take, if you act like that then you are on the fast track to getting canned.

    2019: GPEN | GCFE | GXPN | GICSP | CySA+ 
    2020: GCIP | GCIA 
    2021: GRID | GDSA | Pentest+ 
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  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Mod Posts: 4,426 Mod
    edited September 2019
    You have few questions and points, so I'll answer them separately...


    This company is way small and the knights of the office I'm at are the devs. They are basically the ones treated like royalty due to the fact that the major output of the company is.... you guessed it... software.
    It sounds like a startup or a small software shop. They tend to be more hectic and less "process" oriented. You might enjoy a more structured enviroment where you have a defined set of tasks / tickets to do.

    I will admit that my social skills are not the best around but I do my job. That should be all anyone cares about but it's not the simple, apparently.
    At least you have enough self-awareness to understand & acknowledge that people need more than that. You do too. Would you rather have a co-worker who does the job & make you feel incredibly uncomfortable or a co-worker who does the job and is pleasant to be around? We spend a lot of time at work, we'd rather be comfortable.

    Understand that getting the job done and being pleasant to be around are not mutually exclusive. In fact I found abrasive people tend to overestimate how good they actually are. I'm not saying that's you, you sound like a nice guy who wants to do honest work. Nothing wrong with being introverted, but there might be another problem here.

    Just judging by the info you presented, it's hard to really see where the issue is. It's probably a mix of few things. I recommend that you pick up a hobby outside that has a human interaction aspect to it such as soccer or Brazilian jujitsu or something where you can play with a team. It will do wonders to your social skills, physical health and mental health as well.

    The fact remains that that degree I spent 4 years working towards didn't prep me for anything I'm experiencing now. Even from a technical perspective, unless you've actually used the tools and have experience going through the many processes involved in a real-world/production environment, you aren't being setup to succeed. You're just being setup with the bare-minimum and that's discerning.
    Well looks like you're new to the workforce, and I'll be a cliche and say welcome to the real world. Uni degrees won't translate to direct specific job skills, but it's better to have a degree than not to.

    Actually being in a university environment does help with social skills. It's also meant to teach you to think. You can do graduate degrees as well, and a degree is important to get work visas overseas should you ever want that. Just to name few benefits.

    Some jobs won't look at your CV if you didn't have a degree (while I don't agree with this practice, it still exist unfortunately).

    It doesn't help that the leadership here isn't ideal in that they have the most unrealistic of expectations and seem to just believe that IT can do anything. Their style is to delegate with the minimalist prep
    Again, welcome to the real world. No leadership is going to be perfect. In fact, it's hard to find a competent enough leadership, but they exist.

    Also, since you're new to the workforce, you don't have enough experience to judge and understand what 'leadership' daily tasks and deliverables are. Focus on your own job and your growth - don't worry too much about what others are doing (be it developers or 'leadership').

    It could be that you're just working for a small shop with a toxic culture. You might enjoy a better environment with career prospects and a more structured way of doing things.

    What role or position in IT would I be a better fit for?
    You sounds like a smart person, so I'd take a guess and say almost anything! Adjust your attitude and expectations and search for better environments. Re-iterating that you might enjoy a more structured environment. A bigger firm.

    If I were you, I'd work on my social skills by finding an external hobby (as suggested above), work on certs in my spare time. Have something going on for you outside work so you don't get upset over small things at work. Take the time to understand how businesses really work (you only been there 4 months). They're not perfect and they're not what's being marketed to kids in schools and unis.
    Certs: GSTRT, GPEN, GCFA, CISM, CRISC, RHCE

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  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Member Posts: 1,772 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I agree with what has been said already.
    We are expected to be magical geniuses that already know it all.
    Don't let that discourage you. Focus on forward progress and you will do fine.
    As for jobs after a few more months you can start considering anything that is not customer facing as long as you get along with your team.
  • That Random GuyThat Random Guy Member Posts: 65 ■■■□□□□□□□
    iBrokeIT said:

    I'm 4 months in my first legitimate IT role.

    This is going to be really tough for you to hear but your poor attitude and inflated ego are the majority of your problem here.  Start by fixing those.  It doesn't matter what position you take, if you act like that then you are on the fast track to getting canned.

    I honestly wish it was that simple but the circumstances are simply not ideal. It's like a constant tug-of-war with what society dictates how I should be and how I am comfortable being.

    Again, I acknowledge I don't have the best "bedside manner" but I do try to provide the best service I can. I've tried to "keep the peace" as they say in everything I've done. If it weren't for the guy I'm shadowing, it'd literally be a one-man show.

    I've tried to do everything that makes sense to do... learn the practices, study up on the infrastructure and processes, and I've even tried to see if there's anything I can "fix".

    The fact simply is, the company will take on one or two projects, acquire what they can afford, and then delegate to those people even if the resources are inadequate.

    I want to learn! In this environment, I can't!
  • That Random GuyThat Random Guy Member Posts: 65 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the feedback—I seriously needed some guidance/input. I've browsed around other forums and sites, so I know I'm not the only one going through this.

    I've been scheduled to take my CCNA in two days after 9 months of prep. I've been taking so much time just to prep for this thing that I'll be upset to fail it a second time.

    I plan to finally get out more now that I'm being paid a little better. I'm not Bill Gates of course, but I do wish to get out more to work on myself.

    I guess we'll see where I wind up now that my team will be very understaffed. :)
  • iBrokeITiBrokeIT GDSA, GRID, GICSP, GCIP, GXPN, GPEN, GWAPT, GCFE, GCIA, GCIH, GSEC, Pen+, CySA+, Sec+, N+, A+, eJPT Member Posts: 1,315 ■■■■■■■■■□
    The fact simply is, the company will take on one or two projects, acquire what they can afford, and then delegate to those people even if the resources are inadequate.

    I want to learn! In this environment, I can't!
    This is where you will need to work with your management team to understand their expectations for the projects and priorities you've been assigned. What are your priorities?  What is the timeline? Do they expect you do everything all at once or in phases? Are they aware they are lacking resources?  What is their plan to address it?

    A significant part of what makes an IT department successful is good project management.  It is not uncommon for there to be a large learning curve to understanding how an organization runs their projects.  Unfortunately it sounds like your organization probably doesn't have strong project management practices and operates more informally.  That combined with your inexperience and communication challenges more significantly more difficult that it has to be.

    I would look at CompTIA's Project+ certification and the ITIL Foundation certification to understand the operating frameworks of larger IT organizations.  Even if you don't complete those certifications, having that large will help you in the long run when seeking more senior roles at larger organizations.
    2019: GPEN | GCFE | GXPN | GICSP | CySA+ 
    2020: GCIP | GCIA 
    2021: GRID | GDSA | Pentest+ 
    2022: GMON GCWN Linux+

    WGU BS IT-NA | SANS Grad Cert: PT&EH | SANS Grad Cert: ICS Security | SANS Grad Cert: Cyber Defense Ops
  • leboratoricalleboratorical Member Member Posts: 46 ■■■□□□□□□□
    UnixGuy has answered a lot of these, so I'm only going to be able to provide some alternative perspectives:

    First and foremost, you can look at your job as what they said they hired you to do, as opposed to what they actually want you to do.
    I'd suggest talking to your management and asking what the priorities are and then aligning what you do with that. Because I don't know exactly what your job role and job title is, I'm hesitant, but your manager should be available to help prioritise and assist.

    Secondly, nobody in the real world should be expecting a university graduate to come out with real-world skills. Even these developers have to spend time learning what practical development in their organisation looks like. There will be job-specific processes and ways of working that they will have to get used to, and none of that will be something they will have learned before joining.

    My last part is around how you expect to do your job well (whatever level you're at) unless you understand how and what and why the people you're working with perform their roles. Are you supposed to be looking at logs? How do you know if James really was dialling in remotely at 3.15 am from Nebraska if you didn't know he was off on holiday? It may not be normal, but it will probably be effective if you're aware of these things.
    Did you find a hole punched through the firewall? Maybe Ted from marketing was assigned to stand up a new system because they have a rush delivery and the risk was accepted by the CMO.

    The soft skills are what are likely to make you stand out, and at the end of the day, doing security is making sure that everyone else is doing their job while protecting company assets.

    Start low and slow. Come up with a plan. Find out what good looks like, and if they can't tell you, come up with something that can be used as a starter for 10 to begin the discussion. And talk to people. You never know when you'll need their help too at some point.

    Having said all that, it sounds like you may need to move roles. However unless you know where you want to go, and what you want from the new place, you'll find a new set of problems that may or may not get you to your next step.
  • That Random GuyThat Random Guy Member Posts: 65 ■■■□□□□□□□
    However unless you know where you want to go, and what you want from the new place, you'll find a new set of problems that may or may not get you to your next step.
    Very good point. Thanks for the advice.
  • TheFORCETheFORCE Senior Member Member Posts: 2,298 ■■■■■■■■□□
    @That Random Guy

    Most of us have been in that position,  some are currently in that same spot.  Take this experience as a stepping stone to where you want to be. 4 months is not enough time, stay there for another 8 months and start looking after that. I practically did the same when i started. This 1 year experience will help you to find better jobs in the future.
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