Don't Be an Insect

Don't Be an Insect

As of January 2021, I've had 10 years of "professional" work experience. Before that I had another 5 years of experience doing various dead-end jobs (retail, Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing relay operator, etc).

I suppose that being cooped up for a year due to the pandemic got me to thinking about what I'd be doing for the next 10 years.

Much of what I've done so far has been playing it safe and working within the cozy confines of various companies. I would learn something on the job, eventually get bored or frustrated with my current employment, and move on to something else. I would progress, but I continually felt like an imposter and inadequate. I thought I was failing upward and that somehow eventually the floor would give out beneath me. In due time I'd be adjusted down to my appropriate level.

Around the end of 2020 I started spending more time on Twitter in some of the entrepreneurship-adjacent niches. Seeing what other people were doing was inspiring but induced rumination of what I was doing in my career. I realized that part of the reason I felt inadequate was due to much of my skills and knowledge being context-specific to wherever I happen to be working at the time. Selling something? Write copy? I have no idea how to execute that. I just shuffle bits around.

A worrying amount of my time is spent doing work that requires skills that do not easily translate to other companies. Worse, much of the work in corporate jobs doesn't even translate to value within the company. A lot of projects end up being fiefdom-building within divisions. These divisions compete against other divisions for resources; delivering value for customers and the organization as a whole falls out of focus.

For 2021, I want to shuffle fewer abstractions and focus on creating value. Everything I learn should be directed to that end, and the rewards will take care of themselves.