March 26, 2014

Be Awesome

There are a lot of things I'm good at that I don't necessarily enjoy doing. I'm good at running meetings. I can get along with difficult people. I can troubleshoot IIS and a MySQL database connection.

But if you offered me a job managing a group of sysadmins, for instance, I'd turn you down so fast your head would spin. (Unless you offered me a million dollar salary, in which case I'd do the job for a year, then quit.) I don't want to spend every day mostly doing things I dislike. There's no incentive for me to excel, and I would spend most of every day annoyed.

Recently, some of my coworkers invited me to connect on LinkedIn, so I took the opportunity to update my profile to reflect my current job. I get a lot of messages on LinkedIn from recruiters for jobs that I wouldn't consider unless I were truly desperate. For example, javascript programming jobs with a two-hour commute. I decided to fix my profile so I don't get any more of these messages. I like my current job a lot and don't want to be bothered by any proposal that isn't staggeringly attractive (e.g. the aforementioned million dollar salary).

I went through my list of skills and thought about each one: if this were the only thing I did in my job, would I still want to do it? If I couldn't answer yes, I deleted it. I also deleted things that I can do but am not actually very good at (e.g. public speaking). What remained were the things I am good at and that I want to be good at. Plus javascript, which I left in there because a lot of people had already endorsed me for it.

I want to be awesome at these things. I aspire to do them well, and feel a great sense of accomplishment when I do. These are the things I want to learn more about, the crafts I want to hone, the passions I want to discuss with people who have similar interests. I'm at the point in my life and my career now where I can choose to focus on these skills. Paring down this list was a good reminder of where I need to focus.

I don't need to be good at everything. I just want to be awesome at a few things.

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