My Career, Sans Ladder

September 29, 2005

The speed of progress

In my last post I mentioned how I've made a lot of partial attempts at changing my career and I might have a reason why. I think I've become more used to the pace of "busy-ness" than to real productivity.

If you were to look at my desk right now you'd see halfway read books on Project Management, Data Warehousing, Photoshop, and Corporate Strategy, among others. Reading is one thing, but taking the time to really digest, contemplate, and synthesize new ideas is quite different.

I think it's similar feeling with reading blogs vs. writing one. I can read through 100 different posts in a couple of hours, but sometimes it takes me just as long to write a single post. That sense of speed is something that I think can become addicting in a way. It just doesn't feel like I'm getting as much done when I'm working on something of more substance. Hopefully as I continue to do more "real work" I will become better adjusted to this new flow.

September 06, 2005

What stands between you and success?

So far I haven't performed as well as I've hoped for in the corporate world (and come to think of it, collegiate life). By performance, I mean doing things like taking initiatives on projects or coming up with innovative ideas on a more consistent basis.

And although I don't think it's true, I'm starting to worry I might be like one of those people who refers to themself as a bad test taker when in actuality they're just not very smart. For now I'd like to believe that I have yet to correctly "position myself for success" and that I still have the potential to excel in the real world. But the question remains, what's held me back up to this point?

My first guess is that it's related to passion, or even just basic interests. To be honest I haven't followed through on either for a long time. I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point learning at school became more about doing what most difficult than what was most interesting. Math over Art. Engineering over Writing. Databases over Web Design. And related to this, another problem is that I haven't committed myself to following thru on newer interests. A lot of things have been only partially attempted, which I think ties to a limiting assumption that the things I'm interested in couldn't turn into viable career options.

More on why I quit

There's plenty of reasons, including most of standard ones, but I think the situation can be summed up well with a sports matter which sport you look at, there have been very few teams who have had an undefeated season and then go on to win the championship. There comes a point in each season where a team has to choose between keeping a streak alive or possibily losing a game to learn a lesson, which may eventually teach them how to become a champion.

Well, my first few years out of college were sort of like that winning streak. I got a great job after graduation and then transferred to an even better one less than a year later. Problem was, I didn't really enjoy either one - they both paid well and I was able to live comfortably because of them, but neither felt like they really "fit".

What happened was I could see (and almost feel) myself getting trapped in that career wasn't bad by any means and if it ain't broke, then don't break it, right? Why voluntarily walk away from a decent lifestyle when you don't have to? Because I decided why win at a game I didn't want to play? Rather than continuing along getting jobs that were good enough but not meant for me, why not take a loss and learn some stuff that will hopefully help me out in the future (after all, I've always wanted to celebrate with champagne in the locker room).

I've got this crazy belief that as the world continues to get flatter we're not going to have the option to do work we don't enjoy. As global competition increases we better be able to devote the best of ourselves to our career or else there's not going to be a lot of opportunity to do something else. Quitting my job is a way to re-calibrate myself for the future to make sure I'm adding the most I can to my work.

Loss of momentum

Like most 20-somethings these days I am going through a bit of a quarter-life crisis. Over the past year I've quit my job, traveled around the world, moved back in with my parents, and spent way too much time watching reality TV. And yet, here I am still unsure of what to do next.

When you're working I think there's a kind of momentum, either positive or negative, but at least it's something. Looking back on my first few jobs out of college, I didn't like where I was headed so I decided to step off my career path and set out for a new one. Now that I've been without a job for a while I have this feeling, not of being stuck but, of not moving and I'm hoping this blog will help me work through it. I think writing about my current situation will help me (and maybe others) be more focused and successful with finding a new career.

Should be fun to see what happens next.