Is Your Career a Trick or a Treat?
In honor of Halloween, I thought I’d write about career tricks and treats.
Have you ever felt tricked by a job you thought would be a treat? Or have you had a job that was once a treat but turned into a trick because you kept doing it year in, year out? You didn’t gain any more experience. You just kept doing the same old thing. It’s nice to be needed and to be an expert, but are you still learning?
How do you know what’s a career trick? Here are some ways I know my job is no longer a treat:
- I’m bored.
- I feel as if I can do this job with one hand tied behind my back.
- I can’t think of anything to add to my resume.
If you have been in this situation, here are some ideas to turn that job into a treat once more.
Challenge yourself to improve your process.
I bet if you have done the same thing in the same way for the last few years, you are an expert. And I bet there are ways to automate what you do and shave time here or there. When I challenge testers, they tell me, “I test from the GUI. It makes no sense to automate GUI testing.” They are correct. It doesn’t. It makes sense to automate testing from underneath the GUI, from the API.
Now, you have a challenge. Do you have access to the API? Can you automate from the API? Have the developers created an API? If you can automate some of the manual, rote testing, now you can do some of the nasty exploratory testing that will stress the system. You will be creative.
If you’re not a tester, what can you automate about your job? I bet there is something. Once you start thinking, you realize there are many things you can do to make your work life less drudgery and more interesting.
Change how you work
Regardless of your position, look at what you do all day. Where do you have wait states? What if you paired with other people? What if you reduced your work in progress? The smaller your chunks, the higher your throughput will be. When you do this, you will discover something interesting about your work.
I pair with many people on different kinds of projects. I am better together than I am alone.
Change the work
This is where you might need to work with your manager. If you are bored with your current project, ask your manager if you can work on something else. If your environment is like many of my clients’, your manager has more projects than she knows what to do with. If you don’t normally meet with your manager to discuss what you want to do, this first conversation might allow you to have other conversations.
Look around and see what is valuable to the business. The more you work on what is valuable, the more you will become more valuable. And, that, my friends, is how you create a “treat-y” career.