Wednesday, August 02, 2006

One of These Things is not Like the Other

Because of my change in careers. I've really been thinking a lot lately. I've said it several times. I hope your not getting tired of hearing it. "I love my job as a Systems Administrator." But, I remember saying the same things a while back about my last job as a Graphics Designer. Was I fooling myself?

I think I might have been. I look back and I realize I enjoyed the people I worked with more than what I was actually doing. I had a knack for graphics design, sure. I didn't dread going into work in the morning; I was rarely anxious to get home. But, deep down I wasn't satisfied. There wasn't a joy about sitting there and tweaking graphics or creating a concept. But back when I was job searching I thought I really wanted a job as an Art Director. And now that I'm doing what I do now, I'd rather not do anything graphical.

I think what I like about what I do now is that I like helping people and making people happy. When I fix somebody's printer or connection, they get really happy. I love making people happy. I didn't get that at my last job. Every once in a while I would amaze someone, they'd say, "You did that? I thought it was there in the first place." It made me proud, but it didn't give me purpose.

The difference between the two jobs is a matter of self accomplishment (graphics) vs. immediate feedback (computer users). And I seem toprefer the later.

So my question is have I finally found something that fits my personality, or is it something I'll look back on in 10 years after another career change and say, "I used to think I was happy when..."? Only time will tell. It brings me to another question, is there a job for each of us that would be fulfilling if we could find it? And, do we really know ourselves well enough to find that job intentionally?


Jamison said...

How ironic is it that I do what you do, and get little or no satisfaction and want to do nothing more than be an artist?
Ah life...

Brewster said...

Praise from your people is a good way to make you like your job. Sometimes I think when you're too good at your job people just expect you to be awesome and don't give you any thanks.

bigsip said...

I don't like my job. The people I work with are alright, but the job is pretty lame.

I don't really care, though. It pays well, has good benefits, etc. So, I work here and take care of my family. I kind of like it that way, though. It keeps my mind where it should be: on God and family.

I do, however, enjoy writing as you all know, but I can manage to write 2000 words or more per day in an hour, so it doesn't impact time much.

If I ever make enough to make writing a feasible career, I might go that direction, but I'm content to get some stuff published, write some books, etc. and just take care of my family.

I'm glad you like your job, though, Chuck.

Jamison said...

I am glad you like your job. You are right on many points. People thank you right off the bat and that is fullfilling. I am good at what I do. I am fast. People, like Brew said, have grown used to that. So, when an email comes in and for whatever reason I don't reply or fix the issue within an hour, I get voicemails, phone calls, and more emails from the same user.

Also, people just grab me in the halls, give me a huge amount of information and things they need done, finish the conversation with "Whenever you have time, no rush" and leave me filled with anxiety wondering if I will remember to deal with that issue without an email.

Lastly, psycologically, my job is emotionally draining sometimes. I am the only tech here. People come to me for their problems expecting solutions. Day in and day out. People do not see me and say "Hello, nice day?" they say "How was your summer? Good, can you fix me problem now?" Who do I get to go to for my problems? Who do I call when I need something? No one!

I have ceased being a human and have become a button people press when they need room service. I literally got an email yesterday from a teacher I havent spoken to in 3 months because of summer... did her email start out with "Have a good summer?" No... it went like this:

"Why will my computer not read my disks???? This is not good. Can you fix it so it will read them????
Also, I have asked for nearly a year for a secondary printer to be hooked up to the student computer. Is there some problem?"

Granted, this one teacher is a "problem child" for me. A dirty mouse is an EMERGENCY for her. Nevertheless, I replied saying "Hope you had a great summer! I will get to you when I get some time, this is, as you know, the busiest time of the year for me. Thanks!"

FREAK! I can't even bump into a fellow employee in the "outside world" without them tossing a computer question at me! I mean, people, we live in a SOCIETY here! I don't walk up to the High School Counselor in the grocery store and ask them what college I should go to for a Masters Degree!

Brewster said...

I think to a lot of people computers are stilly magical mystery tours, I mean devices. Most have one but few know anything about them. So ye few who understand them are like wizards. You're not human, you don't have feelings you are gandolf here to fix these magic boxes.

So, um, how was your summer? Can you come to Indiana and fix my computer?

Jamison said...

Brew with a zinger!

bigsip said...

To sort of answer your questions, Chuck, I don't look at any job as the culmination of much of anything.

Even if I were to become a successful writer, I'd see that occupation as secondary or even farther down the list to my real job, which is being the best Christian husband and father I can be. That makes me feel successful, needed, and good.

I don't mean to downplay an enjoyable occupation, but I am just not one to get into my work. I don't like talking about it with people and I usually don't ask people about their work. Not because I don't care, but because it just doesn't matter much to me.

Again, I'm glad when you or anyone else can enjoy his job, so please keep enjoying and feel free to tell us about it!

bigsip said...

BTW, Chuck. Have y'all found a church home yet?

Hope all is well with thee and thine.

Ryan F. said...

Everyone changes. I used to really love my job. I still like it a lot, but I am too old to enjoy it like I used to. BTW, Jamison, do pirates work with you?

"Good, can you fix me problem now?"

Jamison said...

HAHAHA! I didnt notice that!
Thanks! Calling you NOW!

bigsip said...

Arrrrr, Matey!

Funny, Ryan...BTW, if you're too old to enjoy your job, I'm over the hill!

Jamison said...

How stupid and foolish do I feel about complaining about my job, when Brew's is uncertain.
I'm sorry.
Just saw the lady in the water. Pretty good. See the $5.00 show, or wait for DVD though.

bigsip said...

I'm really happy to have my job. I hope I keep it for a long time.

As long as I'm not doing anything else, my resume says I'm "X" and I'll continue to be that till I find somethng with equal pay/benefits or I find something better or I retire.

That's really not so bad.

bigsip said...

Chuck? You there? How you doing?

OK, we're at 14 now, I can relax.

kermitgrn said...

I'm doing great. I posted this on Wednesday night. The next night, there was a huge accident involving a Jack-knifed semi, a van and a house. To top it off the Life Flight copter that came to take someone to the hospital broke down in the middle of the other side of the divided highway. I had left work at 4:50 and did not get home until 8:40. Needless to say I forgot about checking on the blog after that.

While I agree that my job is not the end all, all jobs are a blessing and I need to see it that way.

Jamison, while you are good with computers, you might be in the wrong place. You sound like the teachers annoy you, and I can imagine that constantly seeing students who could care less about you is frustrating. This may help you. I try not to think of users as just needing me for a solution. I intentionally interact with people even though I don't have a job to do for them at the moment. It helps me to enjoy going to see them when they do need my help.

Ryan, I don't have pirates, but I do have a couple flamers. Do they count?

bigsip said...

Whoa! Man, that's crazy!

Glad you made it home ok.

Funny, but I just got a raise at work. My boss said I was doing a good job and thanked me for my hard work.

She also asked me if I liked the job. I told her it was alright and I was learning a good bit more which helped me to like it better.

She was happy to see that I was ok with it. I don't think she expected much else. Either way, she said she looked forward to having me around for a while longer, which was nice.

I'm very blessed to have this job and I thank God for it daily.

I'm very glad you have one you like, Charles. That's wonderful!