Five Fantastic Ways To Stall Your Networking Career


slowdownnotaraceWant to know a secret? There’s no law saying you have to get better at what you do. In fact, so many network engineers are working so hard to improve their skills that it’s making for stiff competition at the top. (I’ve heard.) So why bother? Take the easy road. Kick back. Relax. Let those other people do the hard things. Mediocrity is quiet – low risk. Low risk is good.

What’s that you say? You’re not sure how to screw things up? Well, if you’ve been doing it wrong all this time resulting in ever greater responsibilities, I’m here to help. Take notes on these simple steps to stall your networking career.

  1. Stop reading. For heaven’s sake, put down the networking book. Quit looking at blogs. Stop reading vendor manuals. Ignore industry media. If you keep filling your head with knowledge, you might increase your value to your organization, to the point where they find you indispensable. Crikey! If you want to stay under the radar, make very sure that you couldn’t possibly contribute to solving hard problems based on what you know. The less you know, the less risk there is you’ll blurt out something helpful in a meeting. You can’t tell what you don’t know. So quit taking in all of that knowledge!
  2. Stop certifying. Everyone knows that certs aren’t necessary, and you can do your job without them. Certifications are for losers. So true, my friend, so true. Certs are going to teach you a bunch of junk you don’t need to know. I mean, can you provision a VLAN? Turn on the EIGRPz?? Then rock on! What the heck else do you need to know, really? Certs are just going to burden you with ability, as you learn all sorts of stuff you didn’t know, like…oh…it doesn’t matter. Just stay away from certs. They’re hard.
  3. Stop being helpful. If you are that network engineer who can’t resist chiming in when teammates have a challenge, you better figure out how to knock that off. What are you, volunteering for work? Geez. Shut up already. You’ll just attract attention, and people might think you know something. Talk about an invitation for trouble! Next thing you know, you’ll be sucked into projects and asked to work with other IT team members. That sort of thing totally takes away from surfing funny cat pics in between breaks.
  4. Stop responding to customers. Are you seriously still jumping on help desk tickets and trying to be a hero? Wow, you’re not getting it if that’s the case. Solving problems means that more tickets are going to get assigned to you because people will figure out that you can fix things. That sort of recognition is likely to improve your career over time. We don’t want that. No, sir. Your best bet is to ignore tickets as long as possible when they hit your bucket. Hey, some problems just fix themselves. And if not, maybe someone else will get sick of waiting and grab the ticket themselves. Either way, problem solved.
  5. Ignore new technology. They say networking is changing. Bah. Humbug. Nothing is changing, at least nothing important. No reason to pay attention. All this new stuff is, really, just a bunch of crap foisted upon ignorant customers, and it’ll be gone in a few years because no one is buying it. Especially not you. Besides, if you learned about new networking technology, you might get asked to lead a project or something. Wow! No one wants that sort of responsibility. What if something goes wrong? You want to be Teflon – not a target. So stay dumb. Ignorance is bliss.

I hope this is helpful. If you’ve got more ideas on how stall your networking career, please share in the comments below. It would be nice to gather all the good ideas on this topic in one place so that interested parties don’t have to click so much.

About the author

Ethan Banks

Most people know me because I write & podcast about IT on the Packet Pushers network. I also co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

Find out more on my about page.


  • I’m horrible at all those endeavors… Whatever will happen to me ?

    I thought I’d be in Layer 1 supervision and management for the rest of my career (nothing wrong with that), but then I started studying for my CCNA while I was completing my BBA in management, and I haven’t looked back. I’ll always be studying for some cert until I’m buried. I enjoy it, and will eventually need a separate wing for my home lab…

  • You described the vast majority of my co-workers in the last 3 years until I hit my recent job. That’s scary.

  • This has made me think. I’ve really been coasting since I got my networking job. I need to learn more stuff.

    • Do it! My secret sauce has been- 1 book per month, 1 chapter or concept per day on weekdays.

      If you can flash-card key and detailed info, and then bi-weekly review your studies and monthly do a super cram review and re-read on a Sunday morning, that information will stick. Also, you look more productive during slow hours.

      Got time for Reddit? No, you have time for OSPF. *Stares*


Most people know me because I write & podcast about IT on the Packet Pushers network. I also co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

Find out more on my about page.

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