Get what you want from life.

26 11 2015

As I pass my 1 year mark at my current job, I think back to how excited (and nervous) I was to start.  I was nervous because while the job was going to utilize skills that I had, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to really advance in the career path that I wanted.  I remember thinking to myself, I hope I’m not taking this job for the sake of working.  It had been 4 months since I had been laid off, and I was fully prepared to go through the holiday season without being employed.  Being only a couple weeks before Thanksgiving, I didn’t think anyone would be hiring this close to the end of the year.

So when I made it through the interviews and received (and accepted) the offer, I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to be unemployed during the holidays.  But I still had it in my head…is that why I’m taking this job?  Looking back, if I had been employed and looking I wouldn’t have accepted it.  It honestly wasn’t what I was looking for in a career.  It definitely utilized my current skills, and I would have the opportunity to expand on those skills, but it almost guaranteed that I wouldn’t be learning anything new.  Still, I shoved that away in my head and started my first day.

The first few months were great.  Great people, and the work wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  I began expanding on some of the technologies that I knew already.  I have been very comfortable with SQL writing, and this job would take it to the next level.  But soon I started to ask myself if this is what I really want.  Usually the answer was ‘no’.

As the months went on, the work remained the same.  Here’s a new report.  Almost identical to the report we just released.  Same information, slightly formatted differently.  The frequency of the work was decreasing as well.  It’s not for the lack of work, but the discipline of the work timeline.  I am very used to an agile workflow.  2 week sprints, you’re accountable for your work.  If you’re falling behind, you let people know every day.  This team wasn’t doing that.  How much time do you need to develop this report?  2 weeks.  2 weeks pass, and nothing to test.  I ran into an issue, I need another week.  Repeat a couple times.  There were no real deadlines or a sense of urgency for these reports.  And this kept on, and it was really starting to affect my work ethic and made me feel bad about the work I was doing.

Our test team basically has two projects.  One of them is agile, the other is not.  Because of that, it makes it very difficult to merge the two projects.  So while I was on the reporting side, there was another tester that was on the product side.  A couple months ago, he told me that he was looking to transition into a business analyst role within the company.   I knew that I needed to ask my manager about it.  So I brought it up, saying that if his transition to that role went through, I at least wanted my name in the hat of possible people to fill that role.  It depended on how they wanted to fill that role, but I wanted him to know that I really would want to move over to that project, as it aligned more with what I want out of my career.

When they hired me, they picked me for a specific position.  I almost didn’t bring it up to him for that reason.  But then I thought, wouldn’t they want a worker who is happy with what they are doing?  If I have the opportunity to work on stuff that will make me feel better about my work, they will get a better quality worker.  Plus, the worst he could say is no.  But I knew I needed to ask because I didn’t want them to hire someone else, and then find out that I could have made that move.

My manager loved the idea.  He was happy that I brought it up and we made the transition happen.  This is my last week on the reporting project, as I’ve been helping the new QA person on that team get ramped up.  I’ve been doing some of the tasks for my new project over the last month, and I absolutely love what I’m doing now.  It has brought me back and reminded me why I truly love being a software tester.  The problem solving and being able to figure out what issues are happening.  I’ve been learning completely new things and even getting into the mobile world.


In short, I am happy.  Happy with my job.  Happy with the path that my career is now taking.  In all honesty, I may have began looking for something else soon, but I’m glad I stuck around. I now have the opportunities that I am looking for.  I took a situation that I was unhappy with, and found a path that would make me happy.  Perhaps it was luck that this position opened up.  But if it hadn’t, the path that would make me happy very well could have been finding a new job.

Everyone has to work.  You shouldn’t feel like you are stuck in a job though.  Find your path.  Be happy.



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