Is Your Career Rewarding?
Often the best way to understand the present and consider the future is to look back on the past. I have the privilege of working with hundreds of developers and testers across many industries each year. One of the questions I'm always interested in is whether people are fulfilled in their roles. If so, why? If not, what are some ideas for moving toward greater satisfaction?
Titles are only business labels for a defined set of responsibilities and accountabilities. What really fulfills you in your career is far more complex than simply a job title. This presents a question: What are your life's goals that are important to you? Because most of us spend a third or more of our time at work, your career is a major aspect of overall fulfillment in your life.
The following things have been some of the most rewarding parts of my career.
- Delivering a quality software product. One that you and your team have worked hard to extract bugs from and, once deployed, the customer has provided positive feedback.
- Teaching, mentoring, or coaching teams. Passing on something I've learned to an individual or team and helping them to learn through exercises and examples. Helping teams work better together and assisting them in meeting their business objectives.
- Leadership. In a "servant leader" way—that is, providing guidance for others to solve challenges themselves, helping to remove roadblocks, jumping in to lend a hand, and collaborating on innovative ideas. This also includes building others up and offering them positive comments, feedback, and rewards.
- Driving change. Whether local or global change. Being part of a team that plans, evaluates, and then selects and implements a particular methodology or tool, for example.
- Discovering breakthroughs. Having the freedom to innovate. Working together with others in an entrepreneurial way, brainstorming, and being creative in solving problems or generating new ideas that offer more value to customers.
- Developing global relationships. During my career I've had the privilege of creating quality and testing groups worldwide and have been rewarded through some wonderful professional relationships.
- Contributing to our testing profession. Speaking, collaborating, and authoring ideas to benefit our occupation. I wrote a white paper on advancing the testing career that addresses some of the challenges and strategies there.
If I were to net it out, what has been most fulfilling for me thus far in my career has been the professional relationships that have evolved into friendships, seeing others learn and grow, knowing that our team has made a positive impact on the customer, leaving an organization in a better place than I found it, and learning something new about myself along the way.
I am humbled each day by those who have contributed so much to the fulfillment of my career. Although there have certainly been many challenging situations (we call these learning opportunities) during my journey, my career as a tester, consultant, and business executive has been extremely rewarding.
How about you? Is your career fulfilling and rewarding? Share what makes it so in the comments.
Michael Sowers is presenting the tutorial Planning, Architecting, Implementing, and Measuring Automation and the session Speak Like a Test Manager at STARWEST, from October 12–17, 2014.