I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. When I was young, I wanted to work as a designer and one day own a design shop. I laid out newspapers in college in print. Then when the web became a medium of its own, I started learning HTML and CSS and tried to expand my work there.
I graduated college with a degree in Creative Advertising. It taught me I didn’t want to work in advertising. I wanted to work in design. But the economy was terrible and I had to find a job.
I fell into tech support. First supporting a rollout of Windows XP computers. Then moving into the world of quick printing then back to tech support. I’ve worked in some version of technical support since 2007.
In the past decade I’ve worked in some interesting places and some I’d rather forget. I find the challenge in solving problems fascinating. But fixing the same problem every day is a fast path to burnout.
I got out of straight technical support and fell into event management and webinars. An opportunity presented itself and I took it. And now a couple of years later, I find myself at another crossroads. I’ve hit a place where I need to make a major decision.
Where do I go with my career?
What I do
I could keep doing what I’m doing and work in Rich Media and Unified Communications. Explaining WebEx and teleconferencing to people. Organizing upgrades and planning future applications and tools to help communications.
I enjoy the technical challenges of building out a system for our customers. I want to help make their life easier and worry less about technology and more about what they do. I don’t want a chemist to worry about her WebEx account. I want her worrying about chemistry.
What I could do
Technical Writing / Documentation
I also have an interest in technical writing and documentation. I like to document how things work. I enjoy testing them to see how systems and applications work in practice. I need to know how something works and write it down so I remember it later.
I enjoy explaining how things work. I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned and writing out detailed steps to repeat a process. I’ve always prided myself on my documentation work and always made a point to document as much as I could. Either for my team (or myself) or the customer.
I live by the idea of helping out Future Carl. I’m going to need this again and I won’t remember when I do so I better write it down. If I don’t help Future Carl out, who will?
There were aspects of my last job around event planning I enjoyed. I enjoyed the logistical planning for successful events. Granted, I was working in a single building (most of the time) and with a set group of people (government employees).
But I worry about the long-term appeal of the work. Will it get old after a short time? Will it be fulfilling? Or stressful?
I could go more technical. Find a path to take I enjoy. Whether it be in the realm of Unified Communications & Rich Media where I am now. Or if I take another branch from the tree of technology.
The problem with that is I don’t know what I want to do with myself. There are lots of things that seem interesting. But are they hobbies, fleeting interests or solid career paths?
The common thread in all my work is helping people and making things work better. I want to take the challenge out of technology and make it work for the people who need it. Not the other way around. I want to help people do their work better. I need to figure out how best to do that in a fulfilling and profitable way.