People always tell you to live a life with purpose. Find, build and deliver your purpose. That is what you need to do as a person. Yes, sirree! Get that objective and plug it into your life and you will take off.
But is living a purpose filled life truly the be-all, end-all it is proposed to be?
Things change over time. When I was 16 years old, I wanted to be a writer more than anything on earth. I was torn in my vision by way of what a writer was. At that time the writers I admired were vastly different in what they presented to the world. I love the world of Hemingway, Arthur C Clarke, John Steinbeck and the world’s presented by JRR Tolkien. Not the works they wrote but the lives they lived. They each spoke to a piece of what I imagined I could be.
My grandfather told me to have a fallback plan when I went to college, make sure you can earn an income. My fall-back plan was to be a teacher. I grew up in a professor’s house and teaching to me seemed like water. Always there, always something you could do.
But technology was my passion. I suspect I knew it was my passion long before I left the classroom. I had many superintendents interview me and say “you won’t be teaching in 10 years.” I thought at the time that was simply blow off line. You aren’t going to be a career teacher, so we are moving on. But instead, that was just them informing me that I was meant for other things beyond or beside teaching.
They were right, but it still bothers me a bit when I think about it. It wasn’t that it was two or three superintendents that said that, it was seven of them. They were right, they are still right, but it is something that I continue to find difficult.
It comes down to the difference personally for me. I am not a specialist anymore, I once was but no longer. Specialists are people that can tell you how every piece of something works. If they say you do this, this is what will happen. I used to be that person on the team, but I am not now. My time is spent now figuring out not what the reality of one thing is, but rather how does that impact the entire organism.
Cloud computing has once again dragged out the value of specialists in the IT world. For the next couple of years, everyone will dive deeply into the reality of technology. I know how widget a fits into widget b. We will see people rushing around getting deeper and more technical. Only to realize that in a rush to know more, people forgot how things worked originally. They will come back to those of us who understood what didn’t work at first and now works even less in the new world. They will return to having someone with breadth across multiple IT solutions.
My career like most people’s is a series of roller coaster rides. Right now I am on the uphill side again. Yes, the heady plunge after cresting the hill is coming, but for now, we have to wait. Everyone wants a specialist. Until they don’t anymore, but they won’t know that until they are half way down the other side and things don’t work the way they should.
So I wait as the coaster climbs the hill. It is not the first time. It will not be the last time. Plus waiting is good for you. It reminds you to remember.