Getting Older — Reflecting Back to Improve the Future
We all get old. I’m getting grey hair in my beard and a nice bald spot going on the back of my head. I feel like it wasn’t long ago that I got out of college, but I’m 38 years old now. I’m approaching 40, but I don’t think about age too much. When I do, however, I reflect on my career.
I’ve been in IT and technology for 20 years to the year in my career. It’s been a long time. When you reflect back on where you started and where you are now, I begin to think about approaching 40. It’s important sometimes to take a break and separate the forest from the trees and take a step back from the day-to-day or week-to-week. Realize and think about where you want to go with the rest of your career. What do you want to do with your life? What goals do you want to pursue?
You can reflect on these things at any time in your life, but I feel like there are certain milestones. For me, the milestone is probably going to be 40 years old.
The reason why I wanted to write this article is when you reflect back on your life and you use that reflection to figure out where you want in the future. Think back, what part of your career did you really enjoy doing? I know many of us started out at the helpdesk. I personally, hated the helpdesk. I don’t ever want to go back to there, but there are certain pieces of the helpdesk I like doing. Such as getting out of my office or my cubicle at the time and just kind of going around and talking with people.
Right now, I work from home and I never get the chance to just get up and walk around and to visit various people to regularly get some exercise. So, there are some good things about being on the helpdesk and being a computer tech. You want to take those good experiences that you’ve had in your career and kind of mold those into something that you think you may like.
As you look back at your career and think about what pieces you like and what you didn’t like, you really get a better understanding of what makes you. What your likes are and what your dislikes are; kind of your personality. You begin to reflect back and have one of those “now that I think about it” moments. For example, “now that I think about it, I really did like doing XYZ.” Or, “my boss sucked” or “the job itself sucked”. Maybe you were able to meet some great people and they helped get you to another job. So, begin to reflect and think where you want to go with your career.
For me personally, I’ve been reflecting back recently, just casually thinking about where I came from: the helpdesk; a computer tech; a system administrator; telephony stuff; all sorts of related roles. In the last two years, I’ve been in more of a development role. I’ve kind of ran the gamut and one thing that I recommend other people do is figure out where you want to go in your career.
So, as I’ve been going back through these and thinking about them, I really did like the getting out part of being a computer tech and working on people’s PC. I didn’t actually care to do all these things manually; I’m a big automation fan. I love automation, scripting, and I kind of like software. At least right now, I like creating and building pipelines and release pipelines and the whole software development phase. I kind of think where I want to go is more in the DevOps realm. That is where I am sort of moving my career. Moving from more than just PowerShell scripting to more in the DevOps realm by getting more involved with Python, and getting more experience with various cloud automation techniques.
In a roundabout way, I’ve reflected back on a lot of my career and just picked pieces out that I liked and recognized things that I didn’t like. It’s a good idea to set a certain time every now and then to kind of reflect back on what you did and what you didn’t like. If you don’t have any goals or you don’t understand yourself very well, you’re just going to take jobs for the money and you’re never truly going to be happy with your career and what you want to do.
I think it’s very important to realize what kind of person you are. To do that, you reflect back on all your experiences in life and figure out and make a list of things you did and didn’t like. Then, research what kind of job or role can you make for yourself that represents the things that you like and minimizes the things that you don’t like.