Monday, January 04, 2010

What do I want to do next?

I've hit a point where I am just too satisfied with my career.
- I work with great people
- I'm really comfortable with my current skillset
- There doesn't seem to be any demand to expand my current skillset
- I have no ambition, aspiration or desire to present at conferences
- I don't want to go into management
- I have nothing that will keep me motivated through 4 more years of school

So now what?

I'm kicking around learning more about developing mobile tools - but I need to find an appropriate project. Nothing I have on deck really fits.

Do I look for a problem to fit the solution?

I would also like to improve my web development and interface design chops. We already have a set template for our web site and others have control over content.

Maybe its time to start a new portfolio?

I can't tell whether these "goals" are over-ambitious, not ambitious enough or miss the mark completely. It feels like I am grasping at straws because as I write these goals, it seems like my heart just isn't into accomplishing these things.

Should I even worry about this?


Anonymous said...

Wow, I TOTALLY feel you on this one. I know that might not help really, but at least you know there's someone else in similar shoes in this industry...?

A few random thoughts:
- Focus on LIFE balance - career/work being only a part of that (and usually a financial enabler for the "rest" of your life)
- This could be a very GOOD thing. You're reasonably CONTENT in your career and could focus on personal growth/fulfillment in other areas
- Keep your radar up (industry blogs etc. haha) as to trends in the industry so you don't entirely lose touch with potentially needed skills...sounds like you're doing this already of course
- Things go in don't need to push yourself all the time. Enjoy this time!
- I read an interesting post on a general career/work blog recently with the angle that one should not look for their work/job to provide purpose or "meaning" in their life...One's job should be reasonably satisfying (i.e. uses some of your skills, creativity, has pretty good/friendly people you work with and is not an abusive or totally disrespectful workplace) but it's mainly about money - don't expect it to give meaning to your life (you have to figure that out yourself)
- In some spare work time I started exploring some of the newer possibilities of doing some 3D stuff in flash (i.e. not requiring your students to install another plug-in like Unity3D) with Away3D and Blender (both being FREE)...Over the years there have been quite a few learning projects in which I or my team have thought "you know, this bit here might be very effective with a simple interactive/viewable 3D model" or some other reasonably small-scale 3D element or activity, but that was usually written off due to perceived difficulty to create...mainly stemming from simply not knowing technically HOW to create anything in 3D and get it into an elearning module or online-viewable format. So...this has been cool to start to learn about! (Starting very small and simple.)...Similar to your muted desire to get some mobile development abilities perhaps.
- On that last theme...I think it CAN be very beneficial to your company/organization for you to "find a problem for the solution" or however you put it...Or at least to put together some simple demos or technical proofs of concept...I think part of the role of a learning professional (especially *e*learning) is to bring in and SHOW some new tools and just say "hey everyone - here's a new capability we have" and then THEY may find a useful application for it (but they would never have really even thought of it without you showing how easy it is to do or even just making them aware of the possibilities).


Anonymous said...

Oh, and also...
- You might consider volunteering your professional skills, such as via LINGOs or a similar learning-focused organization

Wendy said...

I felt nervous putting my complete lack of direction out there for all of my professional colleagues to see.

I like your last on something new and go "Hey...we have a new toy! Will this help solve a problem?"

And you are right. This may finally be the year I focus more on the personal rather than the professional. Maybe I should just give into that impulse.

Thanks for the advice.

Aaron said...

I meant to comment on this when you posted, but the week got away from me. Apologies for leaving you hanging as you bear your soul.

I was kinda where you are in mid-2008. Job was going "okay" but I knew that I was outliving my usefulness as other people understood my role. I once had very big ambitions but now simply didn't see how I could ever realistically hope to meet them.

That's why I say kinda like you: I was like you in that I didn't know what to do next... but unlike you, I was in a situation where I was intentionally uncomfortable. I wanted something different than what I already had.

I think the first thing you should do is make yourself uncomfortable. Find something you want (to obtain, to do, whatever) that is simply out of your reach (skills, material thing, whatever). Go for it. Anything that moves you from stasis (imho) will lead to something different.

It doesn't matter what moves you first... just move. Once you're moving around, you'll look for a way to stay still. That will reveal a goal.