Sunday, March 16, 2008

How to love what you do for a living

About two weeks ago I was told that I would be taking over support and development for a project consultants had created for my company. I was a little worried because I knew this project involved technologies that I didn't know at all.

Turns out I was right to be worried. Last week I spent about 75% of my time going over the high and low level details with the main consultant on the project. My brain was hammered with so much information that I would go home each day physically and mentally exhausted and with a slight headache.

My background in development up to this point was basic Java with some rudimentary skills in Perl and a proprietary software product we use for our point-of-sale application. The new project I would be taking over included over 22 technologies I knew very little if anything about.

This kind of situation is pretty normal in my field of work so I wasn't overwhelmed or shocked my boss would do this to me but I did have a lot of work to do. This made me look at my career introspectively and I didn't like what I was seeing.

In recent years I had grown lazy in regards to my career and wasn't striving to learn anything new in my field. Having skills in Java and a few others, I decided, simply wasn't enough anymore. I wanted to be excellent at what I did for a living!

Excellence at what you do is key in loving what you do. The old saying goes "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right". I would change this a little and say "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing with Excellence!"

So instead of just going into work and doing enough to not get fired, what if we went to work and WOW people with our excellent performance?

What if everyone took this stance at their jobs? Look at fast food for example. What if your fast food sandwich actually looked like the one in the picture on the menu? What if you were greeted at the counter with a smile and an eagerness to serve you? What if the person bagging your meal made it a conscious effort to make sure the order was completely filled? What if there were straws in the bag for each drink, salt, pepper and ketchup packets for food and the right amount of napkins? Hey, what if your fries were actually hot? Sweet!

What would the results of this kind of attitude be? You would stand out, in a positive way, from everyone else. The day would fly by quickly because you're deeply involved in what you are doing. You would probably be promoted. And, you would definitely love what you do for a living a whole lot more. Sounds pretty good if you ask me!

So, with this in mind, I realize I have a long but exciting road ahead of me. I have a list of 22 technologies written down in the order I want to learn them. I have plans to get certified in as many of these technologies as I can to show others I know this stuff. I have habits on my habit worksheet that force me to study every day. And I have a mediocre reputation at work to crush with my new outlook of excellence!

Wow! That's exciting! Enough blogging for today, It's time to get started!

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