Thursday, August 16, 2007

My Dream Job (What's Yours?)

Around 10 years ago, I was working with Microsoft's DirectX technology. As Microsoft was an important partner (as they are for everybody it seems), I attended the Microsoft DirectX Conference following CGDC. I was introduced to my dream job at that point. This person was the DirectX Evangelist. Later on, I briefly met this individual in Redmond at a campus visit, and that cemented my desire.

What brought this to mind was a job listing I saw recently. Like most technologists, I spend time running around the Internet looking at what other options are available. A notable large organization has a position open as their OSS Evangelist. This got me reminiscing about that DirectX Evangelist and dream jobs.

Being a champion for a technology would be awesome. Needing to be highly technical to champion the technologies to other technologists while remaining human to the non-technologists is hard; hard is fun. It is like when I would "act" in the high school plays: a little stage fright, a few jitters, and then doing some improv when I forgot my lines.

I guess I'm the weird technologist. I actually like interacting with people. Go figure. I also recognize not everybody is like me, so, to the point.

The real issue is getting from the ranks of Everyman and into a position that you love. As one's "love" changes over time, it is important to be constantly working towards it. Take opportunities to grow, even if you don't think you'll need it now. Present at a conference; take a product management class (great for software developers!); find somebody in another organization and become "job buddies" and teach each other about your jobs.

I once looked at the resume of a guy who had literally spent 10 years working on the dialogs in a word processor. He had not pushed himself at all, and, not surprisingly, we did not even consider him for the position. Even today, a good friend I worked with there and I still joke about it.

Don't be the Dialog Guy! If you can't find a way out of being the Dialog Guy at the company (and, truly, you should be able to), change jobs. Keep learning new things. Stay passionate. Again, don't be afraid to change jobs to get closer to your passion.

And, yes, I did apply for the OSS Evangelist job.

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