Wait, what? Is Dave leaving his Job? Click for info if that question is concerning to you...
No, I’m not necessarily leaving my current employer… But we are going through changes, and it is a natural time to think about whether or not it is still the right place for me. I also am suffering from some injuries due to more than 20 years working heavily at a keyboard, and moving to a new role with lighter typing would help me.
I’m also just kind of done with coding. I’ve accomplished all I want to. I could accomplish more, but there is little satisfaction in it anymore. And I’m not excited by newer technologies. I do like to achieve new goals, but I have no personal ego in having to be the guy who wrote the code to do so. So it is time to consider new paths.
None of this is news to my current employer. We’ve been talking about this for over 6 months, and we may find a new role for me there. Or we may not. Time will tell. We’re in a good place with each other either way. But this post is more about what I am seeking for the future, and less about where I sit in the present, so I’ll just leave it at that.
I’m intending to have a new role at some point in the relatively near future. I do not think of this as my “Next” role, but as my “Last” role.
I have been thinking about my career recently, and have divided it into three phases. Or, really, 2 phases, and I am planning out the transition into Phase 3.
Phase 1 – Building the Career:
These were the early years. Jumping from place to place for more money, more responsibility, a move to a new city, etc. Building technical skills, focused on always growing and improving, and trying to always stepping up in one way or another.
Phase 2 – Running At Speed:
I’ve been here for a while — Fully skilled up, leading projects, building products, running teams, consulting, having more successes than failures, but enough of each to learn lessons. Basically, a solid, reliable, professional tech guy.
Phase 3 – The Last Job:
Time to change gears to the next phase. The last phase, not the next phase. Time to move to my last role.
Because I’m not looking for just any job to collect a paycheck. I’m looking for something that adds meaning to my life, and to my family. I’m no longer interested in just doing generic tech work to make the numbers grow for some corporation. I want to build something that is meaningful, and watch it grow. I want to raise my family, and let them see me work at a long-term product while they grow up, seeing me spend time building something meaningful, and taking the time to do it well. I want a product that improves the world. It doesn’t have to change the world, but it should have a net positive impact. It doesn’t need to make me rich, but it does need to support the family. I want this to bring personal satisfaction to my life, and add meaning to my family. I want my children to see that it is good to be proud of what you do, not how much money you make.
So to find a role that hits those somewhat nebulous goals, I think of my search for my role not as just looking for a job… but as a bigger search for the last thing I will do in this life. It punctuates the importance of the search to me, and reminds me not to just go applying to a job because it is available and match my abilities… but to really think carefully about it and ask myself if it really matches who I want to be, and what I want to be doing for the next 15 years.
Now, of course, I hope that in 15 years I am still healthy and get to do this search all over again, and it isn’t really my last role. But there is no guarantee in life. And I do not want to end up working my life away while kids grow up without it adding meaning to our lives, because if it really does end up being my last role… what a pile of regret that would end up for all of us.
Right now I am young enough to accomplish big things in this world. And old enough to know that if I don’t start doing so right now, I’ll no longer be young enough sooner than I would like.
So this spring and summer, the search is beginning. I don’t know if I will find the right role or not. I could just end up staying where I am, while searching without success… but I am going to search.