I started my career out of college with a bright, shiny degree in Accounting working for Accounttemps doing everything from payroll to filing to accounts payable. Landed my first fulltime gig after a 6 month temp to perm working as an internal auditor for a company in Texas. Great company, wonderful people. I realized very quickly that if I had to do bank reconciliations for the rest of my career, I’d end up in a loony bin. I was good at it too, found some shifty stuff, but knew it wasn’t my long term gig. Got a break when the IT director called me into his office and explained that if I was going to defrag and improve performance on the computers in Accounting, that I should come work for him and do it fulltime since I enjoyed it.
That was my first help desk gig. Knew I was in the right place within a few hours.
Fast forward over the years – got more interested in titles and cash than I did in being happy and doing what I liked – programming and data. By the time I realized that I wanted to be the one elbow deep in code and not dealing with HR crap, I had almost ‘managed’ my way out of development all together. Again, I was good at it, I just realized that once I had the title and the $, neither were worth how miserable I was, nor how much I missed being in development fulltime.
Took a salary cut to get a fulltime gig doing what I wanted to do, but I had done a lot of looking at myself and my life and realized that I wasn’t where I was supposed to be, but I hadn’t been there long and I wanted to give it a chance. A once in a lifetime opportunity dropped, literally, into my lap and now I know what I’m supposed to be doing, and I’m where I’m supposed to be.
Think about this. Work is going to take a majority of your time, your sanity, and in my case, your hairline 🙂 I had found a bunch of jobs with great environments, but wasn’t doing what I knew I should be, or at least I knew I shouldn’t be doing what I was doing. Been to one or two places where I was doing what I wanted to do, and even with the people I wanted to do it with, but the environment wasn’t conducive to staying sane.
Don’t stop learning, experimenting, pushing your boundaries. Sitting there being miserable is a bad cycle to be in – trust me, I had plenty of these moments. Do some online training, read a crap-ton of books, talk to people, network like a fiend. If you work hard, and consistently, you’ll be ready for that once in a lifetime opportunity. I found it, and it’s opening doors of knowledge for me I didn’t even know were there.
Never stop striving to better yourself, but make sure you take the time to be mindful of what’s going on around you, and thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved.
Most importantly, give back when and where you can.