A while back…
I touched on that you should love what you do Here. I also found myself over the last few months wondering if I was still loving what I do, the short answer is no, the longer answer is yes. As those of you that read the other post will know, you should always be doing what you love else what’s the point. I identified a long while back, maybe 6-9 months that there are certain areas of my role that I prefer over others and a few years ago there’s certain things I really enjoy doing. So before going to much further I do enjoy my work, it is challenging and rewarding and that should be enough, but there was a little niggle that was telling me that something wasn’t right with what I was doing.
I had a sit down and a think and I realised I enjoy doing the technical hands on elements to a point, after that point the enjoyment drops off rapidly. For me that point is when the system starts to bed in and becomes more routine, it’s not an element I enjoy of the role but it is something that needs to be done, it is very important in fact. I’ve been really lucky that I don’t seem to be around long enough with any projects to see them through to completion, or when they are completed I’m then working on another large project and tend to skip the day to day work around that, so although there are elements I find dull, I don’t mind as they don’t normally affect me for too long.
There is also something else I know I like doing and I’d like to do more of. At a previous employer I was given the opportunity to do some mentoring of a graduate, and I found I really enjoyed that, I found it much more rewarding than the day job, I felt like I was actually helping someone achieve more, which is very rewarding.
Bring what you love to work
With all of this in mind I started to think about what else I could do within my current job role to give me that feeling again. Well the obvious answer for me was to get some graduates to help out and give me some people to mentor which I enjoy doing. Unfortunately this time that plan did not work out, but it is getting closer and one day will work out.
So this time that plan didn’t work out, so I’m now in the position of finding another way to make that happen, maybe graduates was a bridge to far. Maybe there is something else that could be done to give the same feedback, I will of course need to think about it a bit more.
The main point is that if there is a small element missing from your job, in my case mentoring, find a way to bring it into your job and don’t get disheartened if one method doesn’t work. Keep trying. It is important to keep trying especially if there is only one element that makes it not quite the right role for you.
Don’t run away
Other than trying to bring the elements you do want into your role you could try and change role, this isn’t a bad idea but think about it. I recently started considering other roles that had more of a leadership part to it that would allow me to mentor people and help develop them but as with most people the roles I was looking for didn’t exist in my current company.
The challenge than changes from trying to bring one element into a all round good role to ensuring that all elements of a potential new role meet or exceed your current position. For me the exercise was relatively pointless as all the other elements of, my role are perfect for what I want to do, but if you are not in the same position then moving on may be the right thing for you, but don’t do it to try and make one element better as more than likely the other good areas of the role will probably suffer, it’s all about swings and roundabouts.
Don’t try to change your job if every element is good about your current role except one element, instead try and find ways to fix that element in your current role instead. There is always a way.
I’d have to say that I’m in a dilemma, not sure if it’s a similar one though. I recently changed jobs, companies in fact. I went from a role which gave me lots of freedom to pretty much do what I want, to a role which is now very narrow in its scope. For example, my previous role allowed me to order h/w (blades for example), rack it, configure it all, install OS’s, setup the SAN Fabric, setup Virtualization, provision the storage (Aggregates/Volume/LUN, iGroups, etc), create the base templates, images, VLAN’s, etc, etc. In my new role I am not able to do that because there are separate teams to deal with the h/w, the virtualization, the storage, the comms etc, etc. I am now a Unix Sys Admin and that’s it, I miss my old role and the ability to work within the all aspects of the Data Centre, I’ve not even set foot inside one in my new role. That’s not to say there aren’t things that I don’t like about my new role it’s just that I’m not sure how long I can stick at it if things don’t change, contracting here I come! That said, I’d have to say that in situations like this, it’s best to make the most of it. Ok, so my scope in my new role is different, but I’m flexing my Unix skills which I hadn’t been using in my old role and taking on any work that comes my way, even if I have no idea how to do it. The way I see it, that while I’m not doing what I love, I am picking up more skills in the process.
To summarise, if you ain’t doing what you love, learn and take that with you instead.
I agree, It’s never going to be perfect but if you can get some real value from it then you should. The reason I moved on from the previous employer to the current is I felt like I was not getting to focus on the Linux stuff as much as I’d have liked. The first 3-6 months were very odd I didn’t really do any sysadmin work at all.
Luckily I chose to stick with it and everything worked out in the end, in these situations I tend to think about what it is I can get from the situation if i’m not enjoying it, and time box the experience. There’s always the other option of trying to change your environment, it’s not easy for you or others but sometimes it may work, it is my current tact anyway, if everything else is good apart from one thing there’s no point moving on if you can fix it.