Friday, November 19, 2010

Sitting on the Career Fence

Sometimes I lie awake at night wondering if I chose the right career path.  Progress always seems slow, I rarely feel like I'm given reasonable priorities to accomplish even the simplest of tasks, and I frequently get caught up in some kind of rut.

And then I realize I'm really lying awake because I was brainstorming some application I'm excited to design and code, and really I'm just frustrated that I don't ever seem to be able to make the most of my time in the office working on or developing my skill set to complete those kinds of projects.

It's like having this really awesome sandbox, with shovels, rakes, pails to mold sand, and fine detailing tools, and being held inside all day watching the tools rust in the rain while cats use the sandbox as their community toilet.  It makes me cranky.

There's a position opening that would (in theory) allow me to do more playing.  On the other hand, I would be forced to abandon my current niche that I was hoping to continue to explore with some major projects coming down the pike.  I had honestly hoped my position would be reclassified into a business analyst position because that is essentially closer to what I should be doing in my existing position.  Instead I'm frequently left out of the loop during decision making and forced to make an environment comply with the whims of users unfamiliar with the limitations, existing modules for use, or how such decisions are going to impact the whole organism.  It's what happens when you're just seen as help desk support rather than a part of the planning team.  I don't get a lot of internal support to help to change that mindset.

After talking with my super about the new position, it didn't sound like the new position would be a good fit for either of us.  I remember walking away from that conversation hugely disappointed with a feeling that I would have to make major sacrifices to my happiness working there for a new opportunity and that the (likely minuscule) raise wouldn't be worth leaving my comfort zone.  Money isn't everything, and I'm not interested in putting myself in a position where I am going to start hating coming to work.

On the other hand, I might be able to find a way to maintain some of my existing responsibilities within the confines of this new position and attempt to spread out others with the other programmers through cross-training.  My biggest concern here is that since everyone has their own way of doing things, this could potentially create chaos in database and class structures, but in the end that's technically such a concern is not my responsibility.

I'm on the fence about it.  I am usually a pretty good risk taker, but with economic concerns and fears about my inability to find happiness in a new position, it's difficult to just make a blind leap.

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