My career in technology

Dear Self,

This note has been difficult to write – I’ve started and stopped several times over the last couple of months.  But I think I’ve finally got some of this sorted out.  It’s been a tough couple of months – heck, its been a tough couple of years, but its been a tough couple of years for a lot of people, not just you, so suck it up.

Yeah, the last “Lesson’s Learned” entry was all hearts and flowers.  This one won’t be.  Get over it.

After having had a chance to talk to Tricia McLaren at a recent BridgeATX Happy Hour, I had a few thoughts about your career I’d like to share with you.

You’ve written some pretty insightful blog entries over the last few months (I’m not the only one who has said so, just look through the comments!), and I was wondering if you’ve actually read any of them?  I’m thinking specifically of a few of them…

First of all, What’s Your Passion was a great entry.  But I don’t think you were really paying enough attention, and I think you might have overlooked some salient factors when you wrote it.  When re-reading it, consider the consequences of not keeping your passion, the things that motivate you, in mind when you are looking for a job.  What happens when you forget that, as much as the job interviewer is interviewing you, that you are interviewing the employer?  It is called mismatch, and it can have some debilitating effects on your job satisfaction, and do things to your job performance that aren’t pretty.  After all, you aren’t looking for your next layoff, you are building your career. So, for instance, if what drives you is interacting with end users, finding out what their pain points are and coming up with solutions to make their lives easier, why would you accept a position with no interaction with users, where you are isolated from them?  Finding your passion isn’t just about keeping your spirits up while unemployed and finding opportunities to network with people, it is also about making sure your career is on track and the positions you accept are a good match not just for your skill set, but a good match for you as well.

Second, do you remember Help?  Not the Beatles album, but your blog entry back at the end of July.  I know it is still something you are struggling with, so it wouldn’t hurt to re-read the entry on a regular basis.  Just to keep you focused.  Finally, I want to direct your attention back to “Physician, heal thyself” for the same reason. 

When you find yourself where you are in a mismatch with your job, you need to let someone know about the problem.  I realize it’s pretty scary, coming off extended unemployment and then telling your employer that the job isn’t right for you, and maybe that isn’t the first step.  But unless the problem is identified and addressed, things WILL turn out badly.

So pay attention:  first – if you keep what you have written in mind, you should be able to identify a problem situation, and likely you’ll do it sooner rather than later.  And when there is a problem, identifying it sooner rather than later is ALWAYS better.  (Remember how well it worked at the project at IBM, when you figured out early that there was a schedule problem, and you were able to address the problem and get the job done before the launch date?)  Second – when there is a problem, communicate, communicate, communicate.  Funny thing about problems, if you don’t address them, they remain problems.

…Hey self, I just noticed something.  This is us, identifying the problem.  This is us communicating about the problem.  This is us addressing the problem.  Maybe we can wrap this thing up in hearts and flowers after all.

So pick yourself up, dust yourself off.  And let’s get ourselves going. 

We’ve learned some valuable lessons.   We’re smarter than we were when we started off.  Let’s go use what we learned.

Jim Adcock is Vice President of Launch Pad Job Club, an organization in Austin, Texas, whose mission is help people who have lost their jobs to get the skills they need to land their next job, and to help them cope with the interim between jobs. Check out other career-related entries.


Comments on: "Note to Self (Lessons Learned Building a Career, Part Two of Infinity)" (3)

  1. Interesting post … I also followed the link to “What’s Your Passion” and enjoyed reading it as well. You leave me with quite a few things to ponder, particularly in this stage of my life as I am trying to “redefine” myself.

  2. […] don’t want to overlook any opportunity to get out of the awful situation of being unemployed. I’ve been there. But in most cases it isn’t worth it, putting time and effort into an […]

  3. […] for those suffering the difficulties of unemployment.  And I have tried to learn from my own mistakes and happy accidents.  So when I have a chance to help someone else by providing a job lead, I […]

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