Career advice: Coping with a 'toxic' workplace

Career advice: Coping with a 'toxic' workplace

Premier 100 IT Leader Linda Zafonte also has advice on getting funding for training and more


Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader Linda Zafonte Title: CIO Organization: NYS Insurance Fund

Zafonte is this month's Premier 100 IT Leader, answering questions about a "toxic" workplace, getting funding for training and useful skills for a cloud-dominated world. If you have a question you'd like to pose to one of our Premier 100 IT Leaders, send it to .

I work in a smallish IT department, and I've always liked it. A few months ago, a big wave of layoffs took us from about 50 employees to under 40, and a new CIO was brought in. Now the atmosphere seems toxic, with suspicion and backbiting replacing our old camaraderie. Can this situation be turned around, or should I bail out? Leaving or staying at a company should take multiple factors into consideration. If you were previously satisfied with your employer and challenged in your position, it would be best to wait and see if things calm down. You could also approach the new leader in your department to inquire how you can help him achieve his objectives. This would enable you to see the larger picture and potentially become for the new CIO a trusted member of the team.

My company's attitude toward training is that IT employees make good salaries, so we should be able to pay our own way. And we should invest in ourselves if we want to stay employed. Needless to say, this is an unpopular policy, and I know many good people who have left here because of it. Personally, I don't like to give up without a fight. How can I, one IT director among many, effect change? Has anyone tried to present training in terms of the return on investment? It is always good to use data as a means to persuade. I would consider doing a comparison of internal full-time employee costs vs. consultancy, if this is relevant to your company. Also, how does the IT attrition rate compare to other departments, and what realized costs are incurred on recruiting (advertising, website services, placement fees, etc.)?

What are the most viable skills to possess in a cloud -dominated IT world? It is becoming very critical to have roles in IT that can access cloud providers and determine how to integrate the services into business process and existing internal systems. IT needs to help the business find solutions that take time-to-market, cost, risk and long-term planning into consideration. It is becoming crucial to embrace external cloud offerings for both business process and infrastructure.

Read more about cloud computing in Computerworld's Cloud Computing Topic Center.

Follow Us

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.


Show Comments