This post will be a little different, in that it won’t be very technical but it will touch on technical careers. I wanted to write about this for a while, but due to my perfectionist reasoning, I told myself “this is not about learning how to develop”. Recently, I had my eyes opened that yes, this does have to do with learning how to develop, especially self-development. I’m going to share in this post some thoughts and impressions I had over the years.
As always, take this as a personal opinion and as such, it should be taken with a grain of salt.
Is Your Work Your Job?
The answer to this questions is, as with many questions, it depends. Maybe you are familiar with the saying “Do something you like, and you will never work a day in your life”?
This saying, from my experience, has a very subtle interpretation, I used to think that because I like being a developer, I will have fun working on any project, in any setting as long as I do what I like. And for the most part, it is true, in retrospect, and I say in retrospect because I can look back at former jobs and former colleagues and be reminded of all the experiences of what I learned from them.
Everybody had good and bad days, but when you reach the point of not wanting to wake up to go to the office and this becomes an almost constant, a change needs to happen. As a developer, we owe it to ourselves to explore and learn, broaden our minds and skills sets.
So ask yourself this, “Is this job who I am?” and think about the answer, most of the time the answers should be NO, in my opinion, one’s job doesn’t describe who you are, where you want to go in your career and what you are passionate about.
In such cases, use your better judgement and act on it accordingly, discuss with your manager(s) about it, maybe there is a change you can make inside the current company you’re working in, other times, it might mean you want to try something completely different so you end up job skipping as I did. Don’t get me wrong, every place I worked at was full of things to learn from every event, the crunch time and the team building times, the water cooler talks and the solitary training at my desk. But there were always new adventures and skills to develop, which led me to change workplaces more often than what other people would consider ok (and you will have people that will try to advise against it), but as long as you’re respectful of your decisions and make a smooth transition, you rarely burn any bridges.
If anyone has ever seen my LinkedIn profile, they would notice that across several jobs, my self-declared titles are .NET Developer, because no matter what the internal job title sounds like, this what I identified myself with, and as such, it’s a reflection of who I see myself as and not what the company sees me as. That doesn’t mean you should put CEO on your profile or anything that is untrue, be honest with yourself and show who you really are. If you want to be a superhero as a work title, and you see yourself as such, go for it, might make a few people smile.
That being said, I really want to emphasize about being honest with your profiles and how you sell yourself. Here’s a counter example, recently I met someone that openly declared to people “I had to take stuff down from my profile because people thought I was over qualified and I couldn’t get a job”, though from my point of view, even if he used some buzzwords when you met him, once the hammer meets the metal, it would seem he is terribly under-qualified, as such I don’t really believe in the whole “over qualified” premise, if someone wants to work with you, they will do it no matter what, someone who likes their work and is professional about it, it shows, and employers tend to value you for more than just your title.
If I were to try to summarize what we discussed, it would be the following:
- Be honest with yourself – this applies from your job satisfaction, up to how you present yourselves to others, you might show a different face to the world, and sometimes even yourself, but nobody can keep that up forever and be happy.
- Make a change – if you’re not happy or motivated in your current setting, change it, ask people about switching jobs, inside the same company or another, but remember, ultimately listen to your gut feeling, you’re the one who is unhappy or not motivated, and you should be the one that knows what you need or want, it’s your call even when friends advise job stability.
- Improve yourself – I believe people have an inherent desire to improve themselves in areas they like, something I heard recently and resonated with me goes as follows “True wealth is not having money, it’s about having options”. When you invest in yourself, you open up options.
Thank you for listening to my little rant and I hope to see you next time.