Don't ever work for someone you don't want to become. 1
When thinking about my career I don't really have any sort of long-term plan, or even short-term objectives really. Instead I like to think in terms of KPIs. These KPIs fall into 4 categories:
- Am I sharing knowledge? It could be through mentoring, pair programming, blog posts, tweets, conference talks, whatever. Sharing my knowledge with others in a win-win situation in my books, and I don't ever want to be in a situation where it's not happening.
- Am I learning? Or more specifically, am I learning something that can be applied again in the future. Both management and development involve constant learning, but not all of it is transferable.
- Am I proud of what I'm working on? This has multiple levels, from the technical implementation of a feature or the running of a product team, to the more fundamental question of whether or not the time I spend in my job is having a positive impact on the world.
- How's my well-being? Am I working too much, or too stressed out? Or do I just generally feel drained at the end of the week? Am I meeting my personal baseline? I could be knocking the first 3 KPIs out of the park, but if this one is no good then it's not worth it.
Every Friday afternoon I'll take 10-15 minutes to think about these KPIs and decide if any action needs to be taken to improve them.
The best time to negotiate your salary for a new job is the moment AFTER they say they want you, and not before. Then it becomes a game of chicken for each side to name an amount first, but it is to your advantage to get them to give a number before you do. 1
Having purpose in my career is something I've been thinking about a lot recently (see "Am I proud of what I'm working on?" in the career KPIs above). One area I can see on my horizon is doing work that helps to fight the ongoing climate emergency. Currently I see two approaches to this:
- Work directly on something that lessens climate change or it's side effects.
- Work in a way that sets an example on how a sustainable company can thrive (i.e the Patagonia model as outlined in Let My People Go Surfing).