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I came across an interesting news item recently, one that offers a nice illustration of sustained performance. Last year, traveling salesman Peter Gilbert of Glendale, Wis., donated his 1989 Saab 900 SPG to the Wisconsin Automotive Museum. There was absolutely nothing special about the car, save for one thing: He had driven it more than 1 million miles.

This achievement seems even more impressive considering the circumstances surrounding it. Because of his line of work, Gilbert drove the car almost every day for 17 years. Anyone who’s spent any time in the Great North Woods in the dead of winter can attest to how difficult it can be to get around in that weather. Plus, he had eight (!) deer collisions in that time span.

Given these trying conditions, you might wonder how Gilbert kept his ride running. Well, it wasn’t anything too complicated. He only put premium synthetic oil in his car, changed the tires every 45,000 miles and adhered closely to the maintenance schedule. He also replaced the occasional part, although the car had most of its original equipment when its odometer reached 1 million miles.

Is there any way IT professionals can produce this kind of endurance where technology careers are concerned? Well, yes, as a matter of fact, and it’s not all that different from the way Gilbert did it.

For starters, a lasting career comes with top-notch vocational development. That means using premium certification, training and academic experiences on a regular basis. In a field like technology, individuals should participate in at least one major professional learning event of some kind each year.

Occasional maintenance is beneficial, as well. You might need to tweak or even overhaul your profession now and then to ensure you’re on the road to success — not heading into the ditches of unemployment or barreling toward a career dead end.

Gilbert was rewarded for his consistent and meticulous care for his car with a means of transportation that went the distance — literally. If you take steps to keep your career running smoothly, you’ll be similarly rewarded. If you don’t, you’ll wind up like a deer in headlights.

Brian Summerfield
Senior Editor

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