Two years, same job

posted by Jeff | Thursday, June 16, 2016, 4:00 PM | comments: 0

Today is my 2-year anniversary at my current job. I've felt for a long time that you're only as good as the people that you surround yourself with, so it says a lot about my coworkers that I'm still there. I feel like I'm moving forward.

I suspect for people who don't know the profession, two years seems like a non-achievement. That's fair, but consider this: I was laid-off in 2001, 2004, 2008 and 2009. Honestly, I changed jobs in 2001 to avoid a layoff. I also worked in a contract capacity in 2004, 2005, 2008, 2013 and 2014, so those are time-boxed engagements anyway. The bottom line is that with the nature of contracting in the software profession, along with economic volatility, and a strange attitude that treats people as interchangeable commodity workers (despite paying them really well), it's not unusual to move around a lot. Sometimes it's by choice, but often it's not.

My longest job ever was three years with the City of Medina, as the first cable TV guy there. Perfect for a know-it-all right out of college, but I got to do TV stuff from every angle (production, engineering, talent). I left because I made half of what my peers in neighboring cities made, and I was pretty sure that Internet thing was going to catch on. Second longest job was at two and a half years. I was laid-off as the company began to fall apart, and it was a mixed blessing because I kind of plateaued there in terms of skill acquisition and leadership potential. Third longest job was Microsoft at two years, which I left to return to Cleveland to live in my unsold house. Smart financial move, cosmically stupid from a professional and social angle. So my current gig will likely make second place, unless something unexpected happens.

Job hunting is exhausting, even in an environment where you're practically harassed by recruiters (mostly for poorly matched jobs). Maybe it's my stage in life, now as a parent, but I like to think of stability as an important aspect of work now. I also have to balance that against a need to advance, not monetarily, but in terms of career. Particularly during our transition in to Florida, I spent a lot of time thinking about where I want to be in the long run, and it's definitely leading groups of people to execute on technical work. I knew my gig at SeaWorld Parks provided relevant experience, and the appeal of my current job is the depth and breadth of the projects that I get to lead. I imagine that there will come a point where I want more responsibility, even if I'm not sure what it looks like. I do know that I'm not that interested in the heads-down developer role... something I essentially went back into at Microsoft. It's not that I don't enjoy writing code, and I'll always do it in some capacity and offer my open source project, but I've learned that I'm most effective leading with technical expertise.

So hurray for two years. I'm surprised it has mostly been a good fit as it has, because the short spurts I've had working with companies that have an agency model has been universally awful. This company gets it right, and the value I've been able to deliver to clients has been extraordinary and high quality. I can't predict how long it will last, but it's been a good two years so far.


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