Late night career musings

Ben

Here’s a photo of me yesterday, taking notes for a job application. In true style I procrastinated until the last minute and consequently am awake here at 4 am having just emailed my application, resume and other attached documents.

I am applying for a position of “Analyst programmer” with the local shire council. Thus the career musings. I think my explanations in the cover letter describe it best:

This is an unusual application for me. Currently, and for the past 7 years, I have worked web and information management roles in the Queensland Government (Brisbane). I have a well established reputation there, within the web sector, and a higher wage than this position offers (approximately $70,000 pa).

You may think it strange I would apply for this position. It is temporary, it is lower pay, and I will need to rebuild my reputation from scratch. All of this is true, and yet there are reasons I wish to pursue this avenue for my career.

Foremost, I live in the shire and working locally would save over 10 hours per week in travel time. Time I could better spend with my growing family—my wife and I have three kids and are expecting our fourth later this year—or on pursuits of personal interest. The distance also limits my participation in simple things like flexing, overtime and even social activities. We believe the family budget can be managed—this option is not without some financial gains (almost $2000 pa in commuting costs)—and I think it worthwhile to build a career here.

Furthermore, my observations of web development in Queensland Government have given me cause to doubt it as a long term career for me. The web is relatively new and the industry lacks people with long experience in web—nobody has spent thirty or forty years (an entire career) mastering the web. Appreciation of the web medium remains low, and positions at all levels routinely suffer from a deficit in skilled applicants. Limited professional development is on offer, and I find increasingly few options for advancement that do not lead to management. All of this fosters a culture that frequently inhibits the pursuit of innovation with web technology.

I wish to be involved in developing products of the calibre that differentiates us (be it shire or state) from our competitors: utilising tools and technologies to produce solutions that make life easier (even small ways make a difference). That is no longer happening in my current job.

I have hopes that this position offers such an opportunity: working in an established discipline where quality practices are well understood and pursued with great diligence. From the structure of the Technology Services Unit (in the PD), it is obvious there is room for career advancement; without sacrificing a love of technical work for purely managerial duties. I am firmly committed to pursuing a professional and technical career. I believe in good management, I just believe that technical people are needed to fill technical roles. It is still relatively early in my career, perhaps my attitudes on this will change over time. For now, I wish my duties to remain technical.

My experience is primarily in web design and development, tempered with an understanding of programming, information management and visual design disciplines. It is what I enjoy and what I can bring to your team. Web technology is rapidly merging with traditional IT tools and services and I believe my strong skills in that area would be asset for this position. Naturally I hope you agree, and look forward to discussing further in an interview.

Now, on the off chance someone from work reads this and is offended (sounds like a good reason to get my blog blocked!) let me just say that everyone I’ve had the fortune to work with has been dedicated to their work, and worked hard. Not to the exclusion of having a life (most of you!) Regardless, this is how I feel about our industry. Do you feel differently? Maybe I just felt it was time for a career limiting post like this 😉

Anyhow, my application is in. Wish me luck! Last time I got offered a job (well, a secondment), my branch rejected it. I could use a little extra luck this time.

And now I need what sleep I can grab. Hope today is not stressful. At least I’ve had breakfast already! 😉

Wiimote back in action

The bad news:
One of our wii remotes broke. The A-button stopped responding.
The ugly:
Nintendo said it would take them 20–25 days to even look at anything sent for warranty/repairs due to a backlog of work. Apparently a lot of people took their DS to the beach over summer. Note to everyone: sun, sand and surf fun for people, not so fun for electronic gadgets.
The good:
We got a replacement remote already! I only posted it last Wednesday so that was turned around in little more than a week. Less than a week if you allow for postage. Nice work Nintendo!
The disappointing:
I’ve always said service providers should overestimate when providing timeframes. A little conservatism allows time for the unexpected, or better yet, allows you to set and exceed expectations. Customers love it. What’s disappointing about this? In over two years where I work we have managed to consistently disappoint customers with inefficient service. Bummer.

p.s. 4 (Daniel really wanted to include that).

What’s black and white and red all over?

Bloody newspapers! Some group has started giving away free newspapers every day. Every afternoon to be exact. I can’t walk to the train station without being offered the same newspaper a score of times or more. I don’t want any newspapers!! Blood and bloody ashes!!

OK, I just wanted to say that because I’ve been reading a lot of Wheel of Time lately, all eleven novels to be exact! Prequels soon? Fantasy fiction is what I like to read. I know newspapers can be full of fiction too, but it’s not my kind of fiction.

So enough already with the newspapers! Wasting all that paper is bad for the environment. Just put it in a feed online and I’ll subscribe if interested.

Autumnal announcements

We have three kids here, my wife and I. For me, a stepson, a son and a daughter. Five in the family. We already upgraded the car to a people mover—is upgraded the right word?—and renovated the garage into a new room so we would have space. We thought the family might stop there but a little test today and the joy and pitter-patter of tiny feet may bless us once more. Hee hee 🙂

Well, there’s no other news that compares to that but I did finally get my phone sorted out—3 have sent me a W950i to replace the M600i. A good swap, I’m finally able to customise the menu shortcuts! The walkman and radio functions are really good too! And I may soon have a new job. May. A referee check has been done and that’s usually a good sign …