Who here still watches Survivor? [Raises hand] Uh-huh, I see some more of you out there. Many a "reality" TV show has come and gone since the first Survivor contestants gathered on Borneo all the way back in good old Y2K, 2000. It's been 18 years, but Survivor is still with us, one of the true network warhorses not just of reality TV, but in the history of television.
M*A*S*H and Cheers were only on the air for 11 years. Friends lasted for 10, and Seinfeld only made it 9. Heck, even Gunsmoke, perhaps now better known to fans of Trivial Pursuit than to fans of television, was only on the air for 20 years. Survivor has barely broken a sweat and will roll on into year 19 around about the time of next year's Super Bowl.
The point is that this week's Survivor featured one of the show's more rarely seen sights, even after nearly two decades: a successful hidden immunity idol play. Hidden immunity idols were first introduced in Survivor: Guatemala, and the concept has been repeatedly tweaked. Most of the time, however, an idol lets the player who has it negate any votes cast against them at tribal council.
I'm not going to explain "tribal council," or "votes," and so on, because sheesh, people, keep up! The important points are a) that an idol protects you from being voted out of the game, and b) that it's hard to know when to play one. So hard, in fact, that the current season, Survivor: Ghost Island, is largely themed around misplayed hidden immunity idols from previous seasons.
So it was pretty cool this week when 18-year-old Michael Yerger, one of the youngest people ever to play Survivor, correctly played an idol that negated eight (out of 12) votes cast against him. He kept himself plugged in enough to know he was in trouble, correctly read the mood in the room at tribal council, and kept himself around to play another week.
You don't need a hidden immunity idol to have a thriving IT career. On the other hand, technology changes fast and it's easy to find yourself "voted off" from your seemingly secure IT job. One way to protect yourself is to use certification to keep your skills sharp and keep pace with changes in the industry. Certification ensures that, like Michael, you know when to make a move.
There are no guarantees in life (or in Survivor), but taking a proactive approach is a good strategy for almost anything. Don't just hope that you can hang in there. Put in the work to make yourself more valuable each year. Hidden immunity idols don't help the players who never use them. Take advantage of the power of certification to keep your IT career strong and moving forward.