One of the things I’ve noticed is that many of us tend to start down a career path, or even a role in a career and fall into a groove. This has been mentioned so many times that it’s a cliche now. ‘In a rut’. Recently though, I realized that I can reset many things in my life. I can reset my work expectations, my hobby and my family life.
I’ve been working for my current company for almost 12 years. Not a bad career but before this, I had only worked in this field for about 8
years. Given how long I’ve been in the workforce, 20 years in IT seems like a lot but it’s not much. In the 20 years in this field I’ve had about 9 different roles across 6 different companies. Before I got into IT, I had 3 major career changes.
Not counting high school jobs my original career, the one I went to school for was Aviation Mechanic, and Avionics technician. I worked in that field for a while and then transitioned to Crypto communications support, Aerostat mechanical support, quality control for surface mount electronics, and even help desk. I suppose you could say that I’ve reset my career about 7 times since I entered the workforce. Some of those resets were vastly different than was I was doing before. I not only survived the change, but flourished and grew, and found things I was more interested in, and passionate about. It made work, less work.
Eventually I landed in a company that I respect, and that I’m proud to work for. Sure it has it’s problems, but I work for the company that creates technology that every single person in the world uses at some point in their lives, including our competitors. I always wanted to work for the company that Creating the leading edge, not used leading edge technology. What do you know, here I am.
Even within my 12 years here though, I’ve hit Reset twice now. I was originally a security consultant. Kind of a hacker for the good guys. That was my first job here and it was deeply technical. I’m talking Bit Register, and stack frame manipulation kind of deep technical. But I always wanted to be on stage at the conventions. So I hit reset again and changed roles. I became a Technical Evangelist. Still one of the coolest job titles in the world. Also very technical but there was a requirement to always be learning new technology to a deep level and being able to put it in simpler terms for the masses. That, I feel, is perhaps my strongest skill. I loved that job. But then that leading edge crept up on me again and I hit Reset. Not so much to the role, but the technology the role was centered on, HoloLens. Now I’m a regional business development manager with very little technical requirements in my day to day work.
I’m finding striking similarities in my Jobby (Job-Hobby) of board game design. Now you may not realize it, but all of those games you played as a kid or even now, someone had to spend time thinking that game up, putting it together with pieces, boards, rules and getting it manufactured and into the stores you bought it at. There is a whole lot of work that goes in to getting a game from idea to table.
When I started Cravon Studios to make games, I didn’t realize just how much was really involved. Over the past 2 years I’ve learned by floundering in the deep end, and choking on my fair share of water. Did I hit reset? Well in a manner of speaking yes I did. I haven’t left my day job, but my Jobby is going to take me into retirement. So there is definitely a Reset coming up, and mentally, I’m having to parallel process for the next few years.
But even in my game design business I’ve had to start down a few paths making lighter party card games like Kickin Your Caterpillar and Kickin Your Ass, and slightly more complex games like Troll Bridge. But is it what I want to make? Are these lighter games the ones I’ve had in my head and heart for 30+ years now? After year 1, and publishing 3.5 games now (a drinking edition of one of the games only counts as half) I’m realizing that even with my jobby I might have to hit reset and rethink where I want to take this and the kinds of games I want to make.
Instead of producing 2 games a year and cranking them out, I realize that to really achieve what I want, I need to slow down, be much more picky about what I decide to spend my time on designing and developing, and make one really good game every year or even every other year.
In fact I’m about to shelve a game in favor of a different game that keeps coming to the forefront of my mind. One I am more passionate about, and one that is deeper and the kind of game I’d rather be known for. Sure, there will be the occasional light game but that’s not where my passion lies.
There is still a lot of learning to do. Learning is part of every reset because you are learning about yourself. I’m sure many of us have decisions in our lives that we would have changed if we had known then what we know now. There are just as many that we would not change. The most important factor you have to consider when you feel you need a reset is your Why.
Why are you doing what you are doing right now? Why are you doing the work that you are doing right now? Why aren’t you doing the work that you want to be doing right now? There is a great book called The Way of the SEAL: Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed by Mark Divine that discusses this topic very well. He talks about what you stand for, which drives why you do things. I recommend it highly.
What is your Why? Let your Why guide your Reset. If you don’t feel your Why is being satisfied, you may be due for a Reset. Don’t be afraid of the change. You are the only one that knows your Why and the only one that has the power to hit Reset for yourself.