Information Professionals – Why do we stay?

I really enjoyed Pie’s article, “What is an Information Professional?”  His research on where many of us came from and what we wanted to be was interesting.  In his close, he asked for the story of our start.  It got me thinking.  Isn’t the more interesting question for any Information Professional, why do we stay?

Being an “Information Professional” is not sexy.  Rarely is Enterprise Content Management (ECM) interesting for anyone but fellow practitioners.  We’re this hodge-podge group of quirky people with various backgrounds that for some reason ended up caring about documents.  It was while writing Own Your ECM Career, I realized that I accidentally got into this field, but I consciously decided to stay.

From client site to client site I hear similar stories.  Records managers that, once their co-workers leave the room, point out that they have been pushing their file plans for year.  Administrators, outnumbered by database administrators, that are constantly fighting resource constraints to manage collections of millions of documents.  Developers that still support ECM “on the side” after being deployed to other technologies, now that the company has “finished” their deployment.  You hear the frustration in their voice but the fire to continue on is seen in their eyes.

Each of us has been at that moment in our career, that fork in the road.  You’ve rehearsed that presentation again that you’ve already given a dozen times over the years.  You’ve tightened your department budget yet again.  You’re sitting in front of your computer updating LinkedIn.  It would be so easy to change paths to another specialty.  Still some voice in our head says stay.

Being an Information Professional is a thankless job.  We may never hear, “Without your repository and information governance policies we would really have been in trouble.” But, we can also take heart that we won’t hear, “That document just cost us a million dollars.”

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