My career has followed a rather circuitous path: I’ve spent time in Aerospace, Education (as a high school teacher), Software (in several different industries) and have dabbled in side projects all over the place. Recently I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out what exactly it is I’m looking for in my career, and after much introspection I’ve discovered that these 2 main passions that have underpinned every major pursuit of my professional life:
With that in mind, I’ve crafted a career vision which I hope will maximize my ability to realize both of those passions:
My career vision:
To build and lead great, product focussed, software engineering teams.
I’ve previously written about my ambition to one day be the CTO of a software company, but as long as I’m working toward that vision above I know I’ll be happy.
These are my current career principles: a list of reminders that I use when making decisions – either large career-altering decisions, or tiny day-to-day choices. Ideally, all my career decisions should pass the test of each of these principles, though in practice I’m constantly struggling with one or more of these.
1. Know Thyself
Know your strengths, your weaknesses, what irritates you, what inspires you, what you will stay up all night for, and what you couldn’t care less about. You cannot make effective goals for your career without first knowing who you are.
2. Remember: Life is about People
Life is about people; it’s about building relationships, and sharing experiences. Any decision that detracts from others solely for personal gain is almost certainly a bad one.
3. Keep the Main thing The Main Thing
First, you need to identify the “main thing” - your top priority thing. Second, you need to make sure that all the other things don’t materially distract you from accomplishing or doing that main thing.
I think it’s OK to partition your life into bins where each bin has it’s main thing (e.g. you could have a main work thing and a main family thing), but you really should strive toward a single unified thing (e.g. your work life and family life both contribute to a unified goal/aim).
4. Learn, Apply, Share; Repeat
The world was made to be explored; confront uncertainty with the attitude of an explorer. When you learn something new about the world, don’t hoard that knowledge or let it go to waste – apply it to your life and share it with others.
5. Be Empathic and Assume the Best in Others
Don’t make a decision that goes against another perspective without first trying to put yourself in their shoes. Likewise, assume that the other person is acting with good intentions before assuming the opposite.