What I Want : Variety And Challenge

I originally meant to post this weeks ago, but then I realized that unpacking and getting it right were both important and difficult.  I’ve spent some time looking at what positions are available, and thinking about what has traditionally  made me happy and thought about what I’m good at.  While I’ve gotten some good thoughts about that, I can’t put a job title with what feels like a match.  But I do have some idea of the shape of the thing is, so let’s talk about that, and figure the rest out later.

Today we’ll start with the first one: Variety and Challenge.

Variety And Challenge

I think pretty much all jobs are made up of routine, everyday tasks.  Things that just need doing.  Any programmer who has been working in a business has written an application that’s 90% “CRUD”.  Heck, we even call it that, but it’s much of what we do.  But I know for myself, and for many of the other IT Professionals I’ve work for is that we enjoy variety in our work, and work that is a challenge of some kind.  I’ve enjoyed work that was outside my comfort zone — I’ve worked organizing sports team, and organizing housekeeping and carpentry tasks.  I’ve also sat down and figured out how to do finite scheduling for a textile mill, and delved into systems to find answers to one-time questions that are almost — but not quite — in the data stored there.

Those jobs were I was asked to find hard answers or familiarize myself with new environments and people — that kept me learning and expanding my skills were the jobs I liked the best.  They were jobs I’d go home energized and exhausted at the same time, glad I’d done something interesting that day.  I think this is what drew me to consulting in the early part of my career — things changed every six months to a year, and I was learning new systems (bureaucracies are systems, too) and ways of doing things.  I learned a lot about things and that was good.  My current job is about as far away from the financial services things I did before I moved to Ohio, and maybe the next one will be different from both, too.

None of these jobs have been tumultuous.  There was almost always a plan for every day.  A list of things to get done from the mundane to the tedious.  That’s a simple fact of work, and the way it is.  But there was the potential for something new to work on in the best of them, and I thrive on that.