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Manage Your Career Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, April 21, 2009 9:02 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Manage Your Career






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Post #702017
Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 6:41 AM


Old Hand

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With all due respect...

Manage my career? Let's see... I started in 1977 and have been through 3 mergers winding up in layoffs, 3 startup companies that went nowhere, countless independent projects and consultancies that were fun, but were pretty much short term... I am an expert in about 5 "dead" languages barely used anymore, about 10 operating systems that are either going or gone, 2 database systems that have been bought up and disappeared... and worst of the worst, right at the time I thought my career would be 'winding down', I study harder today to stay up on the myriad of technologies that are flooding the market now - and who knows which ones will last and which will drop off the road along the way.

No, there is no "managing" my career - I am what I am - a "digital whore" - you pay me, and I do it how you want it, the way you want it, and when you want it done.

I've made great money, I like my work, but the truth is the truth - any career in high technology manages you, you don't manage it. You ride the flood of new gizmos, gadgets and the tools to make them work - and you do so realizing that the digital kingdoms you build or oversee wont last much longer than the life span of the average house cat.


There's no such thing as dumb questions, only poorly thought-out answers...
Post #702287
Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 6:50 AM


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Steve: You should read the first chapter of Problems of Work. The editorial reads like an excerpt from it. The book has some very good advice on how to handle careers, jobs, etc. At least, I find it tremendously useful.

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Post #702291
Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 6:50 AM


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In the past I've been in job interviews where several questions were pointed at showing if the job matches my passion in life. Even with the law of numbers and the variability of our species taken into account, I imagine there couldn't be a single human soul that could honestly say that some of these jobs are somebody's dream job.

I suspect that not only do most people not work at their dream job, but on the other side of the equation, not much effort and thought goes into structuring a job that someone would be happy in. Often a job gets created because a work flow is identified. Next thing you know, the organization seeks someone to complete the tasks with perhaps not even a single thought for the (arguably) immortal soul who might have to occupy that job. Then the occupant watches his/her immortal soul begin to shrivel down to the size of a parched pea. We blame the occupant because in a capitalist system, they agreed to it.

It would be encouraging to think that jobs themselves, specifically in our sector, are continuing to evolve into positions that are increasingly more sustainable and rewarding. Perhaps some of you have seen evidence of this evolution. Maybe there will always be a very limited supply of these great jobs and only the top echelons will get them.

I think that jobs will only improve if that's demanded and expected by the sector as a whole. Anyway, that's where I'm at. My dream job might be a literature professorship or science journalist or something. I make a living in the tech sector and don't plan to change that. However, I push to improve the rewards and sustainability of my job and perhaps sometimes use up several of my nine lives doing that on occasion.


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Post #702292
Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 7:07 AM
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I guess I'm one of the lucky ones who's happy at his job! I knew when I was 10 when I first started programming that that was where my passion lay. Consequent to that, any job that lets me exercise a degree of creativity in programming is a job I love. Lots of times I noticed the creativity I crave is in problem solving, deciding how to create an efficient expression of a solution in a computer language. I've learned many languages and worked on a few different platforms, so even though the scenery changes at times the passion is still there for me.

Good luck to those still searching for their passion.
Post #702312
Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 7:09 AM


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Steve,

Five years ago I was the CEO (again) of a mid-life crisis startup. I was up to my eyeballs in managing money, people, customers, and software development (again!). I'd done the same thing years earlier, founded, ran (for 16 years), and sold a software company. One day I decided to take a class at a local university in Flash development and programming. I started my career in computers in 1973, so let's just say I was the oldest person in the class. What I found in that class was a passion I had forgotten, the thrill of hands-on development.

Fast forward to today. I am a DBA and manage a data warehouse and a team of 2 in a small organization that is part of a massive global company. Everyday I write code, debug problems, deal with system level changes, your readers know the drill. It was a conscious decision I made to unshackle myself from the stresses of being “the one that everyone turns to for answers.”

To get here, I returned to school and finished with a BS in business systems and am now in a Masters program. My decision to not pursue high-end high stress opportunities meant taking a big cut in pay at a time when we were putting three kids through college but it also meant coming home every night, no travel (which previously was every week) and a chance to reconnect with my local community. It was a plan that I carefully thought through, discussed with my family and pursued. Now I carpool with my wife to work, perform in local musicals, volunteer in our community, and travel with my family for fun. All of us agree the family has benefited despite the reduction in salary.

When I interviewed for this job, after reading through a resume’ with 30 plus years of IT experience, my boss asked me “won’t you be bored here?” to which I replied, “that’s what hobbies are for!”


do it right, or do it over and over, it's up to you
Post #702317
Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 7:46 AM
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Lol on the Digital Whore comment.

I'm definatly a Digital Whore, with a Gadget Junkie habbit.

Regarding Careers, here's someting to think about:
You know you are doing your Dream Job when you still do it after you have won the lottery.
Post #702340
Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 8:13 AM


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Hi,

I'm happy with my profession.

I believe that I have a profession and not just a job.

I've been working hard to improve my skills in English, Operating System, and Databases.
I don't like to waste time, so I like what I do.

I have bad days sometimes, like everyone, but I believe that I have two options: to have positive or negative thoughts.

Don't matter what you do, if you don't believe in yourself and in your goals.

If you don't like what you are doing right now: stop, think, innovate, change something.


---------------------
Alex Rosa
http://www.keep-learning.com/blog
Post #702367
Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 8:16 AM
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Two things -
Regarding staying current, I agree 100%. I have worked with many "dinosaurs" who call themselves technical but are wholly resistant to change and they are nothing but trouble. That's not to say that every new technology should be used just for the sake of using it, but if I see a developer who is still perfectly happy with VB6 or a "database person" happy doing nothing but FoxPro... I run the other direction.

Regarding how people feel about their job, that really depends on the person. There are people who live to work and people who work to live and people inbetween. The people who live to work become defined by what their job is, it is the most dominant factor in their lives and their biggest priority - they have to have something they are passionate about because it IS their life. They wouldn't quit even if they won the lottery (which they probably don't play). People who work to live really don't care - they work because they need a paycheck, and they usually will accept a less-than-satisfying job if it provides them the means to live their other passions, be they family, friends etc. If they won the lottery (which, if they aren't so good at math they probably do), they would quit their job the next day. Then there are the rest of us in the middle - we admit that if we had millions of dollars, we'd probably find something besides our current day job to fill our time - but we do need to feel useful and enjoy what we do for the 8-10 hours a day we are earning our living. So, we strive to find a job we will find fulfilling but that provides us a life-work balance so we can enjoy our family, friends and hobbies.

People in the "work to live" category are probably more likely to not be good at their job than people in the other categories, but even this is not always true - I have known some who are still quite good at what they do and don't just do the minimum - but when they go home, they don't think about work the way I do and the way people in the "live to work" category would. They admit they work just to support their families, not because of some big love for the job, but they still do their job to the best of their ability. Certainly when I'm hiring I'd rather put my trust in the other end of the spectrum, so if a person is in the work-to-live category, they should hide it from me during the interview if they want me to consider them!


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Anye Mercy
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"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." -- Inigo Montoya in "Princess Bride"
"Civilization exists by geologic consent, subject to change without notice." -- Will Durant
Post #702373
Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 8:17 AM
Grasshopper

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Sometimes managing your career means making choices about what you are willing to accept - work environment, salary, and those intangibles that are hard to define.
I LIKE being a DBA, but I would have a much different career if it paid better. I have settled on this career mostly due to income, its challenging, and I am successful in this field.
Post #702374
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