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Figuring out the job in 2016

February 2, 2016

It is probably not a coincidence that I often find myself in similar situations at work: what exactly is my role, who is my boss, what am I doing, what are my priorities?  I’ve found myself here again!

I have several “bosses”, or maybe I have no boss, and maybe that is just how I like it.  I have an official manager who I see when I run into him in the hallway, stop by his office, or have some manager-y type need.  We don’t really work together, we could go months without talking, but I like him a lot.

1. In the chaos of my recent project, I was absorbed onto the team of someone who runs his own independent team.  I’m signed up to help him, but roles & responsibilities aren’t clear yet.  I’m not totally sold on being part of his team – it was just something that happened in the chaos, and I agreed at that time that I would try it out.  Between holidays and other scheduling issues on both sides, we haven’t really figured out our operating rhythm.

2. In the meantime, I signed myself up to help a remote team on a different piece of the same project. This move was essentially against the advice of everyone I asked (except one guy who is relentlessly optimistic, cheerful, and generous).  Yet, I really like the work and really like the people.  The guy who I’m reporting to is only a couple years older than me, and I like the way he works and the way he manages.  I just couldn’t help myself from getting involved!  The whole “not my monkeys” thought didn’t seem to sink in.  Mostly due to geography, I don’t know how it will work out in long run –  we are trying it right now.

3. Last month, a new opportunity popped up, and I said I was interested.  It’s about a 2 year project, the role is a good fit for me, the team seems fun, and who doesn’t need another challenge?   I’ll know in ~2 weeks if we’ll move forward, and my fingers are crossed!  I chatted with the boss for this role, and she is awesome. Like, I’m actually kind of in awe!

My main concern is whether I’m over-committing myself.  In the long run, maybe the answer is yes.  In that case, I have to figure out how to phase out the work for the remote team or keep things scaled back with the new boss.  In the short term, I’m juggling all the things, and it is fine.

A huge benefit is that my workplace’s culture is in sync with this way of operating.  Generally, each person is left to manage their own time and their own career, with some support from a manager, and more support from their own internal network.  This can be good or bad, depending on personality.  For me, it is great – basically an INTJ paradise.

I expect that by the end of 2016, my job will be a little more clear, but I’m happy with the direction and possibilities.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2016 9:19 am

    Yay for possibilities! I’m realizing that I don’t have the support that I would prefer at work and that makes my job discouraging and less interesting. I also don’t have the variety I desire.

    Your job does sound like an INTJ’s paradise – I’m INTJ as well 🙂 And OMG does that link describe my workplace desires to a T!!!! I sadly don’t think I’ll find it at this job though. So it’ll be time for a new job hunt in the coming months!

    • February 3, 2016 10:33 pm

      Good luck on the possible job hunt later this year!

      I know meyers briggs is not super scientific, but I still like reading about it and getting joy out of the things that ring so very true. It was somewhat eye opening to me to realize that some (many?) people automatically respect hierarchy / titles and will respect the fact that the boss is the boss. I simply can’t respect any leader who doesn’t display extreme competence, even if I try to fall in line. Luckily, there are a lot of competent people in my field. But I could never work for someone that I thought was less than totally competent. (Or… I could, but it would go terribly, see the year of 2014!)

  2. middle_class permalink
    February 3, 2016 9:59 am

    Interesting. I think I would find the kind of structure you’re describing a bit too chaotic. I like having a main boss to report to. However, I think I’m an INTJ too!

    • February 3, 2016 10:10 am

      Projects are really long term ( two years is considered short), so there is a lot of structure that comes from the projects…. although roles and responsibilities do tend to evolve and people don’t tend to get pigeonholed. Choosing projects in moving between projects is not tightly managed, which is good and bad. It is absolutely less security, especially when you are newer and still forming a network. but more freedom.

  3. February 4, 2016 10:04 am

    Do they hire economists? (And not just the kind that are really good at algorithms/auctions/etc.) 😉

  4. February 5, 2016 11:29 am

    These are all under the same company? Neat! This sounds like an awesome set-up for people like us. I really like operating solo / semi-siloed, I get so much more done and done efficiently when I can dictate my schedule based on project needs and I don’t waste a ton of time on peopling.

    • February 5, 2016 12:43 pm

      Yeah… there are a lot of somewhat independent things that go on. Actually one is technically for another place (as in the boss is there), but would be worked as part of an existing larger subcontract we have with them, that I’m already working on a different aspect of.

      Hmm. That was an unnecessarily complicated answer to a simple question. 🙂 Point is that we work with people outside all the time.

  5. February 6, 2016 3:12 am

    I think the new job sounds interesting. Even if you don’t like it, you can always request a change 6 months or a year down the line right?

    • February 8, 2016 10:17 am

      Yup! Or rather, drive a change to happen on my own. The point is there is no way to really request changes via management. You just have to find another project that has work, funding, and matches your skills. There are not TONS of opportunities, but there are some. I can see how this would be stressful for many people. But it works for me, for now.

  6. February 7, 2016 9:56 am

    Good on you for taking time with a decision like this. Changing jobs isn’t something that’s easy to do and although it sounds like paradise, its best to be really sure before you pack in the old place.

    Good luck with whatever you choose to do!

    • February 7, 2016 6:00 pm

      While this was really not written clearly, all of these options are at the same general place, just a variety of projects that I am involved in, and I need to consider and determine my level of involvement with them going forward to create a single more cohesive role.

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