This question seems simple enough, but in one very interesting sense it is something that I haven’t had to answer for myself in a long time. I’ve generally been very happy in most important aspects of my life. But now that I’ve been un-employeed for 4 days (no, I won’t start whining.. I’m still one very blessed guy), and I’ve talked to a couple of recruiters, this question really is a key one; at least in the context of my next job.
“So, what about your previous job did you like?”
Really, a lot. It was technically challenging, and therefore technically rewarding. It had me learning and stretching my brain every single day, and I enjoyed being on the bleeding edge of computer/server/cloud/development technology. I’d be very happy if my next role and my next company allowed me that kind of continuing growth and challenge.
I also liked the fact that I could be passionate about the company and their mission as a whole. “…to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more” is not just words at Microsoft. I hope my next company – small or large – is able to have a similarly stated mission.
But if I combine the brain stretching with the passion, it was really those two things combined. I could learn, and then teach. I could master, and then expound upon why this or that technology or service was worthwhile for others to get to know more about, because it will be good for them. For their company. It would ultimately “empower” them to “achieve more”. And I get to get paid to do that? Awesome!
Well.. I liked working with many and varied customers. I love the excitement of presenting and demonstrating technology to a large group. I actually enjoyed most aspects of travel. And, if I’m being honest, I love the flexibility that working out of my home office gave me.
“Um, yeah. Sure. Who wouldn’t love that? Anything else?”
Oh, the people. Definitely the people. From the day I started at Microsoft, I was impressed by the quality of the people working there. They’re smart, sure.. but more importantly they are emotionally mature; particularly in areas that matter most when working together as a team. It might be hard to determine during an interview process, but that is the sort of thing I’ll be watching for before I sign on to my next company.
And sure, the pay and benefits were outstanding. But the fact that it took me this long to mention it should be a good indication of how big a priority the pay is to me. I’m quite guilty of taking it for granted, actually. I just loved the job.
“So Kevin.. is there anything about your previous job that you didn’t like?”
Well.. no, not really. Sure there were certain aspects or subjective measurements or priority directions that I didn’t always agree with, but over-all they didn’t cause me to not love what was doing. (Anything more specific will have to be asked in person. )
So, as I start the process of considering who is next to benefit from my skills (heh), I really do need to take some time to assess where I’ve been, what I want, and where I want to go. Like I had with Microsoft, I want my next job to be my last one before retiring, and I know that with my background, experience, and skills, I’m a good enough “catch” that I shouldn’t have to compromise. (Power of positive thought and all that.. )
Thanks for bearing with this rambling post, and allowing me to take the beginnings of this self-evaluation process “out-loud”. Ultimately, the goal is, as James Whittaker says time-and-time again, to “do epic shit”. So that’s what I’m going to (continue to) do.