I don’t think I ever wrote about this, but I started a new job about four weeks ago. Actually, I rarely, if ever, write about work. I’ve found it’s best to separate my two lives and not get them too intermingled. I have a lot of opinions on that subject, but I’d probably better not get into them. I tend to not get into too personal things on this blog, either, but I do think that this time I could benefit from some outside advice, if anyone had some.
One thing that’s depressing me a little bit is that looking back at all my computer jobs I’ve ever had since 1999, I’ve never really enjoyed them as much as I had hoped. I’ve been in good company, made some great friends, worked on some really interesting projects that have taught me a lot of stuff, and learned a lot about business, different industries, and computing. In general though, I find it all just a little bit boring. Sometimes I have to wonder if I’m in the completely wrong field.
One issue that I have to deal with in life is that I have a lot of passion for everything I do that I am interested in. This in turn generates a lot of creativity and dedication towards working on goals that fascinate me and drive me to learn more and push my limits of understanding. The flipside of that is I can get extremely bored by stuff that doesn’t interest me at all, and mundane tasks really make my skin crawl. It gets frustrating for me because professionally, I’m always working on someone else’s dream projects.
I can still be passionate or indifferent about my work though. Problems come from both approaches, though. If I really get involved in the process, I tend to take it personally when things don’t work out how I think they should. I know it’s crazy, and I’m working on getting over that, but it’s an issue for me. If I am completely indifferent about the process, it allows me to detach myself emotionally, but then I feel like I’m nothing more than a drone (which is how most corporations probably envision me anyway), and I spend my time being effective, but I feel completely unfulfilled.
What I would really like is a job where I can effectually produce change, and find a business where I agree with their model and their purpose. That’s one reason I get sucked into open source projects so easily and especially spend so much time on Gentoo — it’s because I really believe in the ideals and I’m happy to help push it along. I think that the balance I’m probably looking for would be working for a non-profit organization where I agreed with their mission statement. In that way, I could give more of myself both personally and professionally, and really feel like I was firing all on cylinders.
One of my dream jobs (that I can imagine, I’m sure there’s more possibilities I haven’t thought of, and suggestions are welcome) would be either working for PBS or my Church organization. If either one of those two offered me a job anywhere in the world, I’d almost guarantee that I’d take it in a hearbeat. Practicality and salary have always taken a back seat to personal satisfaction on the job. I’m really indifferent as to how much I get paid (although a nice salaried job is nice, I won’t dispute that), but I can get along being poor and contented.
The thing I enjoy the most is effecuating actual change in people’s lives or the communities. That’s something I’m really looking for. Business has never interested me, nor has the pursuit of money, and so I find it really hard to get involved into anything involving capitalism. You make money? That’s nice. You help someone learn something? That’s freaking awesome.
Another idea I’ve come up with is teaching, and again, another big personal problem raises its head. I suck at school. I really suck. I managed to be good and sit through high school, and that’s where my success ended. I have been in and out of college so many times since I graduated that I’ve lost count. The only effective means of me getting an education is by taking one night class per semester and focusing really hard on that. I realize that education is key to doing pretty much anything these days, and so it gets rather depressing for me when I think I’m pretty much screwed.
I don’t have any degrees, and I’ve actually only taken one class even remotely connected to Computer Science (Introduction to Object Oriented Programming) and I withdrew from that. The only area of study that really fascinates me is psychology. Everything about it just a complete marvel about it, and I could see me using that as a real stepping stone to something else, or help me to understand other things better and work harder at helping others. Great stuff. That’s currently what I’m working on studying in school, too. It’s been the only area of education that throughout the years I’ve held onto as an interest, and I still want to pursue.
So, there’s my personal little story on work. Please don’t fire me. For the record, I love my job that I’m at now, it’s just that I don’t see myself working with computers professionally for the rest of my life. I want to move onto something else within the next few years, but I’m just not sure towards what or how to get there. It would almost be a fun little mystery if it wasn’t so serious.