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Sustaining your career during unsettled times

Thornton A. May | Dec. 20, 2011
Sustainability, or creating economic prosperity without wreaking ecological havoc, is very much on the minds of executives at big brand companies like Coca-Cola, American Greetings and UPS.

In the evolving world of work, what you did and what you learned isn't the career decision point -- what you can do and what value you can create is where the action is. You need to be perceived as a "value artist." Seth Godin, author of Poke the Box, recounts the story of Marcel Duchamp, who mischievously submitted a urinal to a 1917 art exhibit. Duchamp was an artist. The next person to work with a urinal was a plumber.

The future belongs to IT professionals who are simultaneously data scientists and value artists. The right kind of IT leader is an entrepreneur, an innovator, a data scientist, a change agent, an educator and a diplomat.

Thornton A. May is author of The New Know: Innovation Powered by Analytics and executive director of the IT Leadership Academy at Florida State College in Jacksonville. You can contact him at


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