Browsing Tag


10 Tips for dealing with the fact that you will never leave your job

I must admit – not my idea, stole if from an outro on an Onion News piece, Child Bankrupts Make-a-Wish Foundation. (you will feel guilty for laughing at it) If you never check in on the Onion, I encourage you to do so, fun stuff and you can get a printed version in Denver at Sancho’s.

So I saw this the other day when I got home from New York and thought about it a while, asked some folks questions about this and got an array of great ideas. Most of them are why you might want to stay where you are – find an opportunity to grow and expand your contribution. That’s right – pollyanna optimism, with a dash of opportunist thrown in.

Another way to look at it this post might be: 10 ways to optimize your current gig…

  1. Stop the Alerts! – turn off your daily monster reminder that there is something else you could be doing. I did this a long time ago and I am better for it. Basically there is no need to find out about that analyst job at a cool web 2.0 company. Your career builder and monster reminders encourage/foster thoughts like: Maybe they give weekly massages? or It might be cool to get a haircut in my office or It might be good to just be a network admin again. Nothing good can come from a free haircut – think work life balance.
  2. Understand what YOU do: This esoteric concept is a fairly interesting way to grow professionally. Find others like YOU in your industry. Caution: This may foster Zen like clarity and a renewed passion for what you do.
  3. Understand WHY your role is important: You aren’t getting paid because you are really good at pouring coffee for the CFO when he or she randoms into the break room, in fact you probably internal and external constituents that depend on you, so find out what they expect from you. Do a little ad hoc survey of your “customers” and understand what their value drivers are.
  4. Get a life! This is the easiest way to bring joy into the workplace. Find a way to jam your off time with satisfaction – we don’t work for nothin! Plus all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Get a hobby, fall in love, join a support group – whatever.
  5. Work hard and play hard. Duplicate? Nope. You need a life, before you can have fun. So I guess get a life, has more to do with finding folks who you can hang with and once you have friends you can play. Think about it playing with yourself is a little boring — I like action action figures like the next geek, but other humans ROCK!
  6. Mentor: Find a mentor – be a mentor. If you have someone you can learn from it makes everyday an opportunity to grow, the other side of the street is that if you can find someone to mentor, YOU can improve your organization. Upside: You might actually build a relationship, which will set you on the path to finding a life. Yes this a self referencing looping structure for career improvement in a 10 tips post.
  7. Push Yourself: After being in a role or company for a long time you will ultimately get a little complacent. Well I’m here to tell you, if you don’t expect excellence from yourself or growth – no one else will and that’s a sure fire way to want to turn your monster alerts back on.
  8. Green your own Grass – This is a concept that if you have a life, expect excellence and understand what you do, you just might enjoy what you do. We all long for greener grass, especially in Atlanta, but you have to find a way to “be the ball“. If you have a reasonably good gig, you like the people you work with and are good at what you do – take advantage of it. Think about it – if you are lucky enough to have this kind of gig or you think you may have an opportunity to develop it where you are – what a cool place to be in a career!
  9. Switch it Up – Been there a while? See if you can get a different role in your company. Use your tribal knowledge, leverage your mentor and passion for excellence to learn something NEW. This is definitely greening your own grass!
  10. Engage: Remember – You work with people! Develop relationships! Execute towards shared goals, actively participate in the processes and be a collaborative team. We all got something to learn or share – no matter where we are.

As you may have realized by now, I just needed a snazzy title to frame some leadership concepts. Cheers!

Tech speak – taking it to the streets….

guykawasaki Check out these end-user photos from the southern Cal fire:

So this [tag]Tweet[/tag] from guy made me think a little, as software folks do you take your jargon home? I’m pretty sure that when I coach my home team I use words which are more appropriately used in the [tag]workplace[/tag]:

“Kevren, I need you to action those items as discussed, your room clearly needs to be cleaned up ASAP”

“Dijouri, as you reflect on the incident at school with the spelling test; do you feel their was an opportunity for improvement? How are you efforting those items which you feel you can do better on? Going forward I think you should remember those items and drive to closure the gaps in expectations.”

“Prescott – while I certainly appreciate the flurry of activity, I need you to appreciate that results are more important than activity”

“Guys – we said we were going to the skate park — no scope creep. We can do the movies tomorrow.”

“As part of your bonus plan kids, we need to layout our 3 objectives for the week to get an incremental budget allocation to support your newly surfaced expense needs for the next week.”

“Emily — I’m currently efforting that initiative, it is my expectation I will close on taking the garbage out on or before COB tomorrow.”

“Dijouri, not sure I like the look and feel of that tinker toy creation”

I guess the upside is my kids will quickly be acclimated to corporate America, downside is their friends look at them weird when they say things like “at the end of the day, I just want to play my wii and I am willing to accept the trade offs associated with that decision.”

As for such – speak with my wife, it just doesn’t work. I’m just flat out told to “speak English”.

Stuck in the Middle: The Geologist

As part of the stuck in the middle series, I will develop multiple personae for examination – the first one is “The Geologist”. The Geologist can be a leader or an individual contributor whose actions of each are on opposite poles of detail – too much or too little.

The Geologist as a leader, says “Bring me a rock” – most often in business this cliche has many use cases, but in my view its the project sponsor, manager or executive who only knows they need something which has a hardness on Moh scale than talc, but clearly we don’t have time for diamonds or a meaningful/supportable/executable explanation of what is required.

Don’t get me wrong, I like bullet points like the next person – but not in the project definition phase – conclusions, lessons learns and general presentations – bullet=rock, but not in the “project contract” for lack of a better word.

Typically this [tag]leader[/tag] will not fully understand what they want – “I want a new “X””. The geologist doesn’t know what it is, but they clearly know what it is NOT. So contributors will go labor, come back and get told “not exactly”, go labor – come back, “nope”, so the loop continues…

There is a point in time typically when the geologist realizes 2 or 3 of the loop iterations ACTUALLY were close, they synthesize and go home. This can add as much as N-times of effort, had the leader defined his or her wants the first time or understood their wants.

Now the [tag]individual contributor[/tag] which is a geologist type, endlessly “tumbles” their rock until it is shiny and cool. It’s not at all the right rock, but they have spent so much time that they are convinced it is valuable – kinda of a fools gold deliverable if you will.

When you get a geologist leader AND executor, you are sure to have over efforted products, content and requirements which will total miss the spirit of the project, but not the letter. After all, the Bullet=Rock, so everyone is fairly happy right until the market launch. Speaking of market launches, this can at times be a great persona for embracing the perfection trap.

At some point you have to stop the tumbler, make an assessment and deliver goods – even if it is a ROCK.