Finding Joy at Work 📈

five person by table watching turned on white iMac

Five years ago… I really enjoyed my job. I found it engaging, and difficult, and I loved the problem solving we did on most days. Now? Erm… less.

Did the job change? Did I change? I think both, but that’s probably the obvious cop out answer.

The Job

The job has changed. It was once a very hands on, get stuff done on a daily basis type thing. Learn something new, innovate, and maybe have some fun doing it. Technology moves pretty fast.. so a lot of the problems we were trying to solve in “those days” as in.. 2018ish.. are now pretty much solved by things that quickly became industry standard. There is an accepted and normal way to do just about anything. The only real difference for us, is we do it at a larger scale than most. Lot of people play our games. So what has the job become? Editing YAML files. These are basically the configuration files for those apps that are solving all the problems we used to have. So.. we go in and type the right numbers into the right spots, and then send it out. That’s mostly it.

The Me

I have changed. This is both good, and inevitable. You ever think of something you did in your past and feel a 2nd hand awkwardness or embarrassment about it? Good, you grew as a person. Getting into doing engineering tasks at work, after doing direct IT support tasks for a long time, getting to be called an a “software engineer” felt pretty awesome. Like I somehow sneaked (😉) into a secret club, where I didn’t belong. After spending all this time the last 10ish years, around engineers, has made me realize, I don’t like them. Engineers are a weird bunch.. they seem to thrive on trying to one up each other, in some sort of computer knowledge contest that nobody else is playing. You have an idea? The first thing that pops into their heads is, how it will break, why it won’t work, and why you’re a garbage person that doesn’t belong there. (That last one might be my own insecurities talking) So, I just don’t enjoy that attitude. I’ve decided to do what I can to move out of individual contributor, and into leading a team of others. It’s not going to be an easy leap at all, but sometimes I feel like my best job skill, is getting jobs. I’m really good at interviewing and having people like me over a short period of time. So I’ll lay it out there, and say I’ll make this happen. Now I just need an open job where the hiring manager is willing to take a risk on someone with a lot of theoretical knowledge on team leadership, but without any experience. No problem!

The Right Now

So… I think changing roles is the best long term solution for my work dissatisfaction.. but I don’t want to live thinking, “Ah someday I’ll be happy and fulfilled at work again.” My answer to not liking my job.. is… I’ve kinda stopped doing it.

Not entirely of course! I’m not going to get fired for doing nothing. I’m just finding tasks that need to be done, that are well outside of my job description, and then volunteering for them. This week, I’m facilitating a meeting for a 100 member team and walking them through creating OKRs for their respective teams. I hate OKRs… and I hate mission statements.. and visions… and all the corporate nonsense… Planning, and executing the event however, is different to my current role, is more in line with the role I want.. and a hell of a lot of hiring managers are going to see me do it. So this has consumed my last several weeks at work. This Wednesday, is finally go time. Let’s go!