While watching Twitter, I saw this pop up in my stream:
What is your dream job situation? What would you do? Do you have that job now?
— SwiftOnSecurity (@SwiftOnSecurity) November 21, 2017
As I have taken a twisty career – tech support to desktop admin/webserver admin/reports writer/DBA/developer (all under an IT analyst role) to web developer to independent consultant (mostly development) to teaching assistant to instructor to lead instructor – I have always wondered – what really makes up my dream job? SwiftOnSecurity’s question has me thinking. These are some of the things I’ve liked in past or current roles.
Flexibility – Not Tied to Certain Hours
As a mom, it is important for me to be in a job where I can volunteer at school every now and then and where I can be available to handle that call when the teacher has a hazmat situation where the kid needs to be sent home (you may laugh – I had this one happen in the past couple months). I need to be able to address mom needs every now and then, unapologetically and without a lot of extra guilt. As a working mom, I feel guilty as it is when I have to leave work early. However, I end up working when my kids are asleep, so the time gets in eventually.
My strong productivity times are when my kids aren’t around – so when they’re at school and when they’re asleep. Now, when they’re home, that’s my family time. My guys are little – 3 and 5 – so I’m at a phase where I’m still an important figure to them. I need to be able to have that time and not feel tied down by work.
Leadership – Two-Fold
I truly enjoy leading people. Whether it is in an official capacity – such as leading my tech support team and leading an Online remote instructor team – or an unofficial capacity – such as mentoring juniors while I didn’t have an official “lead” title, I have enjoyed supporting others in their careers, being the voice of them against the business side (HR/accounting/etc.), and encouraging team morale. Leadership is in my blood – it’s a part of who I am, and it’s something I’ve embraced. My enthusiasm for leadership is quite clear in my servant leadership talk that I will be delivering in January 2018 at CodeMash.
As a leader, I thrive with other leaders who are communicative, transparent, honest, and know how to handle even the tough situations. When the going gets tough, if my leaders are transparent with me, that makes it easier for me to be able to disseminate the knowledge appropriately to my team. As a leader, I prefer to have that transparency and open door policy for my team and expect that of my own leaders.
Play and Creativity
For me to be successful in any role, I need to be able to play. No, I’m not referring to Nerf gun wars or Corporate Challenge type things. I’m referring more towards having fun while learning. Is there a way for me to learn a new technology while having fun? Can I put my creative ideas to work to make my work environment or the tech community a better place? If I enjoy whatever it is I’m working on, there’s a much higher rate of me being successful.
Education / Training Others
I am enjoying the education space, much like I enjoyed academia while in college. The one downfall to this is that I only have a Bachelors degree – but I won’t let that slow me down. I did have my app in for a Master program but rescinded it recently due to a downturn of events. Maybe one day…
What do I enjoy about the education space? I enjoy teaching others with examples and real world applications of concepts. I especially like taking concepts that seem difficult to others and making them approachable. I enjoy writing curriculum and presentations. Most of all, I enjoy learning and helping others grow in their careers by learning.
This is something I really enjoy – being able to share my stories and experiences with those who are just getting started in the field, and learning about their journeys and how to apply their journeys to where they are today. I remind those who learn from me – I also have my own mentors! Having mentors – especially ones outside of your company – give you a wider perspective on things, and being that person for others is something I really enjoy.
The Road to my Dream Job (of Today)
For now, I will continue to go down the path my career has taken me so far and see where it will lead. Every day is an adventure, and every step changes who I am. And each experience, I learn more about myself – my likes and dislikes, what helps me thrive, and what sets me up for success in the future. I look forward to seeing where this path goes.