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Pawel Brodzinski on Software Project Management

Are You a Fan of Your Job?

Lech from Progress Blog, as usual, made me thinking after his recent article about working in structured environment. One thread especially stuck with me – a question whether we are fans of our jobs and why so many of us aren’t.

In his article Lech presents typical cycle of our jobs – at first we’re all open and positive about our new role. Then we slowly start drowning with our commitments and unfinished tasks and finally “smile is no longer there, the attitude is no longer so open.

I agree, I’ve been there. Probably most of you who went through a few different jobs know pretty well what Lech is talking about. The part which made me thinking wasn’t about losing positive attitude though. Actually it was all about initial attitude.

One of my friends recently summarized her new job:

Well, that’s just a job after all. Of course it is important… from 8am to 5pm. I’m cured from being mentally at work all day long. I’ve learned to have a distance.

If you asked me five years ago I wouldn’t understand. Hey, you spend half of your conscious life at work. You should be all hot about it! If your initial attitude is so low how do you expect to succeed? And what will be at the end? How would you feel in a couple of years?

That’s how I would react five years ago. And now? Well, now I wouldn’t be surprised. I still believe that positive attitude makes your day at work nicer but I’ve seen enough examples of exploiting people’s positive attitude, squeezing them like lemons and kicking them at the end of the day instead of saying simple “thanks.” I’m no longer surprised to see “cured” people.

And yes, people end up in jobs which they aren’t fans of. Why? Because they couldn’t find better ones. Because sometimes these are ones which are paid better. Because someone lied to them during interview. Because they’re thrown to a wrong team. Because their boss appear to suck. Because things change fast. There are more of non-fans than you’d think.

Many employers would eager to know whether their employees are fans of their jobs. But almost none of companies would do anything if they heard “no, not really” as the answer. Why this relation should be asymmetrical? Why should people care more than their employers?

But coming back to the question from the subject – I’d love to hear whether you are a fan of your job. Why? Why not?

And the other one – whether you were a fan of your job when you started it?

in: personal development

4 comments… add one

  • Lech June 17, 2009, 11:03 am

    Thank you for referring to that one, Pawel! Darned, I'd rather not answer your question… ;-)

    Let me just say that I was a fan of my job when I started it.

    I believe that an individual's PMA is for the common good. In teams a "disillusioned" member can do a lot of harm. A negative / wavering leader – probably even more.

    But then, what you write is true. True from my experience, that is.

    And regarding your friend's approach – here's a quote that I came across today:

    "Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream" – Malcolm Muggeridge.

    Fits?

    Again, I'm not innocent myself. But then, any illusion we maintain… is not without a cost, is it? Life is permanent, work – probably not.

    Cheers, Pawel!

    -Lech

  • Pawel Brodzinski June 17, 2009, 12:02 pm

    "In teams a disillusioned member can do a lot of harm. A negative / wavering leader – probably even more."

    So very true. When I wear my managerial hat I'm the first to do something with people who shows how they lost their illusion to the whole world. If they don't want to change attitude they're going to be forced to change a job.

    On the other hand a heck lot of people keep their disillusion for themselves and for their friends. This doesn't really harm much beyond personal performance which is often acceptable for employers. Actually this was a group I was aiming for with the post. This is the group where my friend probably can be found.

    Just a professional will always be vanquished by a professional who puts a heart in their job.

  • Michael June 24, 2009, 10:25 am

    Yes, I am a fan of my job. Of course, this may be relative. And I wouldn't be so naive to assume I will always be a fan of it. But for right here, right now. I am a fan of it. Which is good.

    One thing is, I hated my last job, and I didn't like my boss or agree with just about anything he did. Now, I work for a smaller company, a software company. We have around 30 employees here. This is the smallest company I've ever worked here. And of course the culture and environment is much different. We have a very strong leader/CEO/Owner, who preaches customer service, quality, and continuous improvement constantly. And he practices what he preaches. I like that. Also, my role is more of a hybrid project manager/technical analyst, so it's great for me because I've been on both sides. I am a big picture person, but I also like to flex my technical and programming skills every now and then.

    I can understand what you're saying. But I think if you are not a fan of your job, you should possibly think about looking for a different one. And/or, if you have the means to do it, maybe even think about changing careers, or at least branching off in a different direction.

  • Pawel Brodzinski June 24, 2009, 11:48 am

    Michael,

    I believe you stress one very important thing – if you aren't a fan of your job you should consider changing it. This doesn't automatically mean you should actually change it.

    Glad to hear you feel good at your company.

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