You Know Where To Find Me

Software development, running, music & beer

This is ponderous, man, really ponderous

I have found myself doing a lot of soul searching lately in terms of my working life. After bouncing around several jobs my first few years out of college, searching for the elusive “perfect” one, I finally settled into where I am now with a company that I really like. Almost six years later, I am really feeling like I’m at a crossroads and really need to figure out what I want and where I want to be and go and use that to guide my decision making. I’ve long given up on the pursuit of perfection, and am more now just trying to figure out what my preferences are, what is merely tolerable, and what things I am not OK with. All kind of weighty things, I know, especially when it comes to your livelihood. Things are going fine at work, and they seem to be very pleased with the work that I am doing. I’m just not sure of whether this is the best fit for me still.

In talking with another software developer friend today, I was reminded of some words of wisdom from Uncle Bob Martin in his post ‘Whiners that Fail‘ from a couple years back:

“YOU, and NO    ONE    ELSE, is responsible for your career. Your employer is not responsible for it. You should not depend on your employer to advance your career.”

There is a lot more to it, but that is the main point. I know a lot of people that I work with that would completely disagree with that statement, and in fact, I have found from time to time that I kind of forget it until something happens to bring me back to that realization. I am there to provide a service. And if I get comfortable in what I’m doing and fail to keep up with the rest of the world that keeps on moving outside of the little bubble that I may find myself confined too, then if that bubble were to be burst, I may find a rather ominous gap between where I’m at and where the rest of the industry has moved onto.

From time to time, I get these moments of inspiration, after reading a great blog post or seeing a great speaker, where I get excited again about software development and kind of plan out some rather lofty goal like mastering some new language by doing some enormous project on my own, or something equally outlandish. And then I get discouraged and give up, quickly. My ambition’s archenemy is my current work situation. I don’t get to program that much anymore, and when I do, it’s using rather dated technology and simplistic & frustrating internally-developed frameworks. So my excitement after going to a user group and learning about cool new features in C# 4 gets killed off pretty quickly when I find myself stuck using C# 2 the next day. So I find myself back at square one and stuck in this defeatist loop, and question why I even try. But at least on the bright side, I see myself making a lot more of an effort at least than most of those around me, trying to go to user groups, read up on new things and try out some things in my free time, even if it is very little.

So, ultimately I’m not really sure of the intent of this post other than to get some things off my chest. I guess it is to publicly remind myself of Uncle Bob’s point that I am responsible for my career and I need to start taking that responsibility seriously. Figure out where I’m at, where I want to go, and what I need to do to get there. The same friend I was talking to earlier also mentioned how his manager talked to his team to think of their careers like a stock that would trade on the stock market. And his question to all of them is what are you doing to make your stock price continue to go up? I need to break out of this rut and break out of my bubble and catch back up, and get my stock price back on the rise.


2 responses to “This is ponderous, man, really ponderous

  1. Ken March 24, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Maybe you could audit courses somewhere, or take online classes. I buy old textbooks on eBay and do homework assignments- which is maybe a little weird. Maybe you could set aside a night a week to work on a project just to learn the new stuff.

  2. Stu April 5, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    I was also going to suggest working on a side project as an excuse to use whatever new and exciting technology you like. That was one of the things I did and it worked to get me to learn ASP.NET MVC. Additionally, I have heard others recommend contributing to Open-Source projects, although I have not yet done that.
    I ran into this similar situation last year and I came to the conclusion that I am most satisfied when I am learning at a great pace. Once that pace slows down I get bored and begin to look elsewhere. For me, I feel I’ve found a solution by networking around my city to find a job with great growth opportunity. Essentially, I am now at a consulting startup and I work for someone I consider a mentor. Consulting is not always the most rewarding industry but since we are small and new we don’t have any legacy code to maintain so we get to use the latest .NET releases, etc. The small size of the company fosters transparency, making it a place where I could see myself working for several years.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: