Monday, April 20, 2015

It is your job and it is your choice.

Recently I've been stretched quite a bit at work. As every developer in a small business can tell you, they are the one "responsible" for printers that don't work, windows updates that need to be applied, Internet connectivity, backups, and so on.

After a recent spate of server outages and just a bad month for our network in general, I found myself becoming a little bit disillusioned with my role in general.

I'm trying hard to keep up with new development technologies and fighting an uphill battle to keep our software product relevant and somewhere close to up to date. It's a tough battle in a small (microscopic) software development house.

Anyway, after recently being drawn into discussions on disaster recovery, backup best practice, virtual servers architecture, RAID drive recovery and so on and seemingly being the one who's fault it was that a drive failed in the first place, then also copping plenty of pressure to keep the progress of our ongoing, leviathan development project going, I started having some toxic thoughts about how I'm not paid enough to be a system administrator AND a lead developer.

But I know that's toxic! I just said it was. It didn't stop me feeling a little dejected - or used. But I believe I am a more positive person than that and I don't want to become "that guy". There is two ways to look at every situation. You can be a victim, or you can look at what you can control. You can lament that you aren't paid enough, or you can grab the opportunity to do more.

I like to think the negative thoughts that sometime creep in are only skin deep - a short term reaction to a tough day maybe - and that underneath, the "positive me" will ultimately control my actions, for the better.

So with those fairly positive (I'd like to think) core values, I took to Google. I searched terms like "it's not my job", "initiative" and "attitude" and Dr Google prescribed this one....

This is a gem. This make the analogy with a sporting club and pointing out that everyone has "roles" but essentially, there is a "job" to be done - by everyone! So I thought, yeh, but what happens when one superstar carries the team all the way!  Well, firslty that rarely never happens, secondly, when it looks that way, the value of that superstar skyrockets.  But think about what comes first.  I love cricket so I'll relate to that. You will never see a player, unproven, state that "right, I'm going to open the batting, open the bowling, captain the side, oh, and I'm going to be incredibly successful at it, so I want top dollar before I start". It doesn't work that way. That player goes out, does what he says he can do, then gets the big offers. If he's bought into the side as  a wicket keeper or an opening bowler or a leg spinner, and does that, he doesn't not make runs or take catches until he's paid more. He makes the runs, takes the catches and turns into an invaluable resource. Then come the spoils. If he's still not appreciated by his current team, that's a different issue. (The recruiters will come knocking).

So time to "put some runs on the board". Once I really am invaluable - then worry about the spoils, and I'm tipping that if it's going that well, you won't have to worry too much.