I’ve been busy lately. In a good way, at long last.
I recently started at a new company and have been flat out getting acquainted with how the new place is put together. I have to say – I am loving the new role. I know when I turn up that before the day is done I will have learned something new or I will have made a positive difference somewhere – usually both.
Which brings me to the topic of this post. I’m not a big fan of bitching about ex-employers (and doing so is not the point of this post), but I feel compelled to point out some of the things that have struck me as I shift into this new role.
I did not enjoy working at my previous place of engagement. It’s a shame to say, because some of the people I worked with were very smart andvery talented. Unfortunately the company seemed designed to make any change a herculean effort. I’d be hard pressed to purposely design a more inefficient way of working. I’m not going to give you a laundry list of specifics (though I could). Suffice it to say that there were uphill battles to be fought on pretty much any front you turned to.
I should have seen the writing on the wall. I remember thinking two weeks in ‘Can I really bring myself to care about this company enough to stay and do what needs to be done?’ Still, I was optimistic. I had come from a job where I’d been more successful than I could have hoped and like Alexander before me, I was going to cut through bureaucratic Giordian knots and lead the way to a shining future of efficient development, clean code, strong inter-team relationships excellent configuration and change management, not to mention a kick-arse testing group.
Sadly I acheived none of that. I decided I’d stick it out for 2 years and see how much change I could make. Maybe it was like turning an ocean liner around. Once you got past the momentum built in one direction, surely change would come more quickly. Nope. Didn’t happen. What’s worse is I found myself conforming. Keeping my head down. Not saying anything when I should have made a stand.
As the two-year mark rapidly approached, I had what some substance abusers call a moment of clarity. I was ashamed at my behaviour. If my peers saw me behaving like this, they would not be proud. Far from me making that place better, I had allowed myself to become worse. I decided it was time to leave.
No sooner had I made the decision, an email came out of the blue. A guy emailed me, said he’d read my blog and wanted to have a chat about testing over lunch. He worked a few train stations away and hey, I’ll talk about testing all day if you buy me lunch so I was all for it. I happened to mention during the meal that my current contract was almost up. One thing led to another and I found myself with an offer from a company that looked to me very much like it was doing things that I wanted to be a part of.
Long story short, I’m now working at said company with a bunch of super smart people doing work that I think makes a positive difference in the world. I like the work that I do and perhaps the most importantly I am myself again. I work and think and act from a place of integrity and I can see that the people I work with do the same.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is life is just too bloody short to work in a job that makes you miserable. Not only is it time you will regret never being able to get back, but you may not like the person you become. No amount of money is worth that.
If you find yourself looking at the clock wishing it would tick faster, if you wonder why you’re doing what you do when nothing seems to change, if late on Sunday afternoon when the prospect of work tomorrow makes you die a little bit inside – your place is no longer there (if it ever was).
I’m not saying ‘quit your job tomorrow’, but if you’re stuck in a work situation like this, do everything in your power to find something that is more you. There is something better out there. Go find it. Please.