Or, how to increase your salary, impress your boss and make your job easier.
Ready for the secret? Here goes...
I know... doesn't sound very profound, does it? Yet that's the "secret", at least for any sort of job in a technical field.
I started as a computer technical support staffer many years ago. I still remember how I got started supporting phone systems. My boss told me that I was in charge of every piece of hardware in the computer room, including the PBX. I said, "But Ted... I don't know anything about phones!" His reply was "Oh, just call the vendor for any moves or programming changes."
That's NOT what you say to me if you want me to leave it alone. I watched over the tech's shoulder as he made programming changes. I asked him about the wiring. And when we upgraded the PBX the next year, we got them to toss in two classes: basic database and voice mail.
Over the years at that job, I took three more classes from the manufacturer. I joined the regional user's group and took classes at the regional user's conference. I subscribed to a mailing list for Nortel users. I read articles in some of the freebie magazines.
Every time I came back from a class, I wound up immediately implementing some of my new-found knowledge to solve some problem or other that we were looking for a solution for. And gee... whaddaya know? My title went from tech support to telecom administrator to telecom manager. And my salary climbed to 250% of what I'd started at.
What am I reading today? A chapter on traffic data analysis reports for the PBX that my company uses. You see, this company uses a different PBX than the last one did... so I get to learn all over again.
The more I know, the less I have to call the vendor about... and the more I get to impress my boss when I tell him "Oh, I can do that!"