2016-12-06

find my place

I've now been at my current job more than a year, and this is my third job since moving to the state.

The first job I had in the state (almost eleven years ago), everything was pretty clear-cut as there were only two of us supporting everything the company did. While the work was sometimes grueling, it really was a good place to work and there were some great people, many of whom I still hang out with today. I could imagine how I might still be at that job were it not for the economic depression that caused the company's dramatic constriction. But if I had stayed there, I wouldn't have learned a myriad of things which I have in the years that followed my employ there.

When I moved on from that position, I found position at a somewhat well-known retailer. I stayed with this company for around five years, and in that time held four distinct roles. The first was the hardest to acclimate to because I was both adjusting to the culture, and finding my place among some people that had already been working there for as many as two decades already. When I moved into my second role, I had a firm grasp of what I needed to do, who the players were in the organization, and what that meant for me. But I quickly realized that it wasn't a position I'd be happy in. When the manager of my first role asked me about moving over to his new team, it seemed like a great idea and allowed me to get back to the things that I had enjoyed doing: engineering solutions.

Under this manager and his replacement when he again transitioned, I worked in the last two positions at the company. There was a team of similar-skilled and tasked guys that I worked with in the first role, and we accomplished a diverse variety of projects. As fun as it was, I wasn't really growing professionally (despite merit increases telling me I was moving "forward). One of the team leads under the same manager recruited me over to his team, and this is where I got to grow the most in terms of new technologies. When I made this last transition, I brought some of the things I had built previously to the new team, but I also took on things that I'd never done before, and certainly not at the same scale. I really liked the guys I worked with. I enjoyed what I was doing, but working way too much.

And the culture was changing.

Although I didn't really let on that I was unhappy with the way things were going, I started interviewing for positions. I applied for about five positions, and had two interviews, one that turned into an offer. When I reviewed the details, I wasn't really happy with what I'd be doing and I felt it best to decline. Not having seen anything else worth applying for, I mostly resolved to just hold the course. But then I got a call about a position I'd apparently applied for, but it had been so long that I didn't even remember the details. Over the next two weeks I had two interviews and and offer and everything seemed like it was both logical and nearly ideal. I made the move to my current role.

So now I've been in this position for a bit more than a year. If I'm honest with myself, I don't always know how well I fit. I get things done as needed, but I feel confused about what my manager's expectations are for the group. Sometimes it seems that he wants us all to be able to do similar things, and at others that he really wants us to specialize in specific things. I've had some discussions with him about what I would like to do and where I'd like to take my career, but the three guys I work with have all been around the org for as long or longer than I've even been in the state. The dynamics aren't quite what I'd expected.

I'm still trying to find my place here. I want to contribute positively. I have introduced some processes and ideas, as well as some technologies, to help our team do our collective jobs more effectively. I like the guys I work with, and feel like we would get along well outside of the work environment, but because of our different places in life I've never actually interacted with a single one of them outside of a work context, and that is extremely different from my last job. I can't fault anyone but myself here, but when I overhear my team talking about getting together for various non-work things I feel sad because I'd like to be invited, I want to be more than just a coworker, I want to be a friend.

I'm not sure what I can do to change things within the group, maybe nothing. So then the question becomes: do I learn to accept it, or do I find something that is a better fit?

Over the course of the next several weeks, a lot of the technology groups within the organization are relocating into a newly-renovated office space (oddly enough designed by my first employer in the state). Perhaps as this confluence occurs, I'll find that the needed social circles may form and I'll find at least one relationship within this expanded group.

I can hope, at least.

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