Thursday, September 26, 2013

When I grow up...

Lately, I have been thinking about what kinds of things I LIKE to do. I have been thinking about my personal environment and my personal preferences. After some time, I finally had a revelation on it. Like everything else, it was triggered by a conversation that a few friends kept having with me. It always starts differently, but somehow it seems to always end the same. The question often comes up "how are you able to do X?" The answer seems to be "It depends on the team"!!

My friends think this is a bit funny. Probably because it comes off as laziness, or perhaps it seems like a hesitance to commit to an answer. But I started thinking of what I preferred, and looking back on my career, it turns out I do have a few preferences. My preferences always circle around a good team.

My preferred work environment is one that has a lot of challenges. I love a fantastical vision. A vision that seems (or is) impossible. Whether it is because of functionality, or complexity, or due to timeline constraints (budget constraints are a little more difficult, after all I am a consultant!) I like to face the improbable. I do not like to do this alone; I prefer to have about 3 "legendary warriors" on my side. These are "rock-star" developers/DBA's that PLAY WELL WITH OTHERS. Coupling these two attributes, in IT, is nearly impossible, but I have somehow managed to work with at least 4 teams that had this combination. Lastly, we need a "damsel in distress" - the client who cannot get his team to deliver. Sometimes, as above, it is because the effort itself is impossible. Others, it is because the process has broken. It is better when they have an idea of why we are there, as opposed to when they just want expensive people as a means to keep a budget line open.

When I can get these three things together (the impossible, a great team, and a willing partner) we can do almost anything! That is exactly where I want to be. I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to execute in these circumstances with some great teams in the past. I have had the blessing to be able to be successful with some of this in my past as an individual contributor. In point of fact, I can work well if not all 3 of these are present. But the BIG thing for me is - at last, I am aware of what I want to do.

Do YOU know what you want to be when you grow up? Are you stuck punching buttons or pushing levers because that is what they have you doing? Are you in an organization that "manages" by fear or "status quo"? If you are, and with a bad economy, and with all the weight of the world on your shoulders - what are YOU going to do about it? Because at the end of the day, only you can help yourself get to a better place. I have discovered that it is much better to know in which direction to start moving!

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