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  1. Update on the mid-life crisis

    June 1, 2010 by superlative

    I have been doing some further thinking about my previously mentioned mid-life crisis over my career, and I think that I’ve sort of decided what it is that I need to do. Whether or not I’ll actually do it remains to be seen.

    Basically, I had a good read of a book called ‘Changing your career’ at the weekend,  having decided that as with most problems in my life I could solve it by getting a book on it. It was quite good, and it talked about the reasons people have for changing career, and what you need to consider before doing it. I also spent some time thinking about what things I enjoy in my work, and what things I don’t, and how that might affect what I want to do in the future. The back section of the book was devoted to profiles of about 20 different careers, so you could have a look through them and see if the type of work would suit you.

    The upshot of my research, my personal audit (that’s the wanky technical phrase the book used), and the comparison to the career profiles was that the job that seems most suited to me is Web Developer. Which is what I’m doing at the moment.

    So… um… There you go. I was a bit surprised, but actually it makes a lot of sense. I moved to this job from my previous administrative roles because this was more what I wanted to be doing. None of that has gone away, I’ve just lost sight of it after two years in post and the creeping boredom being in the same job entails. And in particular I have issues with this job, not my actual choice of career.

    When I looked at the things I have most enjoyed in all my previous jobs, they were (apologies for the inarticulate phrasing):

    • Being given a goal and being asked to work out how to achieve it
    • Taking something, unpicking it, working out how it works, and then understanding it
    • Learning new skills
    • Checking things – proof reading, making sure things add up, being meticulous

    All of these things fit fairly well in web development, or at least they seem to to me. The projects I have most enjoyed here have been the ones where a designer sends me a set of images and a list of requirements, and says “Can you make that?” Sometimes I know how to do it straight away, and sometimes I have to go away and learn something new in order to achieve it, but I get there in the end.

    The problem I have with my job at the moment is that, despite being called a Web Developer, I actually do very little development. Most of the time I’m limited to web editing, which is just updating text and fiddling about with a pre-existing website. And even then, my workload is quite light, and I have to ration what I do so I don’t get too bored. Both of those things leave me feeling unfulfilled, unstretched and quite de-skilled, as anything new that I do learn while working on a project then doesn’t get used again for nine months, by which time I’ve forgotten it.

    So anyway, it seems to me that web development is an OK career for me still to be in. What I need to do though is either fix this job by taking on more work from somewhere, and hopefully making it more interesting work, or find a new job where I’m actually a web developer and not just called one.

    The latter may well mean working in the private sector, and this concerns me. My only experience of working in the private sector was not a good one, as it was a smallish company and any mistakes you made had immediate financial consequences attached to them. I’m also not keen on any role that involves a sales aspect, and I don’t enjoy being public-facing.

    So I’m not actually sure where I go from here. My plan is to start keeping a closer eye on local web jobs, and if I see something that looks promising I’ll apply for it. If it means taking a pay cut for a while, that’s OK, because I know my current skill level doesn’t really match my salary here. Luckily, Brighton has one of the highest concentration of ‘new media’ jobs in the country, so at least I know there are lots of web-type employers around.

    I’m also considering starting some study in my spare time, so that I feel more mentally challenged (not in the spakka sense) and might gain a new qualification. I’m having a look at the Open University undergraduate courses in Maths at the moment, and I might think about doing it as a second degree. I enjoyed it at A Level and it would be nice to use those skills again; and you have the advantage with the Open University of stopping part-way through if your circumstances change or you just go off the idea. So I’m going to give that some thought anyway.

    I feel a bit more positive than I did last week, and at least now I feel I’ve narrowed down my options and given myself some areas to focus on.


  2. Terrible blogger

    April 1, 2010 by superlative

    I have turned into one of those bloggers I don’t like who only updates their blog twice a month, making it a bit annoying to try to keep up to date with. It’s my own fault really; once I leave it for too long, events either don’t seem current enough to write about or they become irrelevant.

    But anyway, in case you care here are a few things that have happened in my life recently.

    Most excitingly for the geek in me, I have got a new phone to replace my Sony Ericsson C510. Yes I know I’ve only had my last phone for a year, but it’s one of the few things that I treat myself to and spend any actual money on myself on.
    So now I have a brand sparkling new HTC Tattoo, and so far I’m really pleased with it. It’s my first touchscreen phone, and it has Wi Fi, which are the two things I really wanted. It seems really good, like a proper little computer in your pocket, and it’s quite pretty too. The touchscreen is a bit annoying at times, as I knew in advance from the reviews, simply because it’s on the small side and so it’s easy to jab the wrong thing with your finger. I was texting my sister-in-law this morning and nearly wished her a Harrowing Birthday because of it. I’m getting used to it though, and the general interface and software is really nice.
    The only thing that made my Sony Ericsson better was the awesome camera it had, that took some of the best photos I’ve ever taken. But I only really used the camera once a month or so, so I shall learn to live without it.
    I’ve also been ill with a cold for the last week, which is quite annoying as I’d managed to go almost six months without catching anything. I’ve been proudly telling everyone that I haven’t been ill for ages, so I suppose this is my payback for being smug. I’m hoping it will go away soon, not least because we go to New York in just ONE WEEK!
    It’s terribly exciting, even though I’ve been before. I was surprised to see that the temperature is in the high 60s out there at the moment, so it’s really quite warm, which would be lovely compared to the horrible greyness we’ve had here lately. I think it might turn more rainy by next week, but I’m still vaguely hoping we’ll get some early summer sun while we’re there.
    We’ll be there for five nights, but I’m actually off work for a whole week and a half for it, which will be lovely. I’m sure I’ll come back to a backlog of annoyances upon my return, but I’ll worry about that when it happens.
    Other than that, things have been more or less normal. My mother has been medium-crazy for the last little while, as opposed to her normal uber-mentalist state, so that’s been quite pleasant. I did have her on the phone for 20 minutes today though in a stress because next door is apparently having their roof done, which will undoubtedly cause lots of noise and upset her. It hasn’t caused much noise yet of course, she’s just speculating and stressing in advance, but she likes doing that. If you haven’t got anything proper to stress about, you may as well make something up – that seems to be her philosophy, and it gives her a reason to ring me up anyway. How nice for me.
    That’s all for now. I shall write more after the Easter weekend, which will involve a trip to see the mentalist mother and so will I’m sure provide lots more blogging material.

  3. Blogging

    June 19, 2008 by superlative

    I’ve been thinking about why I write this blog, if it’s interesting, what sort of things I should be writing about, and other things like that.

    I suppose I write it for the same reasons I used to write a diary – it’s quite a nice thing to do, to help you think things through, and it’s nice to be able to look back on it later. I suppose if any other people find it vaguely interesting or amusing, that’s a bonus that you don’t get with a paper diary.

    The second question is more complicated. Is it interesting? Hmmm, sort of. Sometimes. I think some of things I’ve written giving my opinion on things, or talking about something funny that’s happened, are sort of interesting. General narrative about “I did this, then that happened” is a bit dull though, and I must try to avoid it.

    As to what to write about, that’s also more tricky. I don’t know if people like some of the posts I’ve written more than others. Things I could write about are:

    • my daily life, the wedding, work, that kind of stuff
    • current events, occasionally I put stuff on here about politics or interesting things I’ve read in the Economist. Not that often though, I could do more
    • interesting pictures, videos, websites and stuff that I find
    • more personal sort of stuff, like boys, boys I like, sexual adventures (when I have them), lack of sexual adventures (more likely)…

    Any comments (from the vague few who read this) would be appreciated. I’ve been reading about what makes a good blog, and lots of places say “write about what interests you, write what you think, keep it short and accessible”. So I suppose that’s a good place to start.

    It’s also a bit tricky when yes I could write about my thoughts about people I know, people I like, people I hate, but they might actually READ this themselves. Especially because I link this to my Facebook, so all my friends could potentially read it. Do I just throw caution to the wind and write it anyway? Would people get upset? Would I have to anonymise it somehow?? Ah so many things to think about…

    Thoughts anyone? Shall we just got for red hot gossip and sexual perversion?? I know that’s what you’re all dying for…

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