Figured I might as well just say it out loud and get over this identify nonsense.
During the last year, my role at NewsGator has gradually transitioned from overseeing development, technical support and technical operations to overseeing professional services and technical support. In addition to those management duties, I find myself working yet again as a hands-on consultant. I’ve managed professional services before and have been both an independent and corporate consultant numerous times in the past. It occurred to me recently that I actually love being a consultant. Should I be ashamed to admit that? :’} A strong part of my professional identify for the last 20+ years has been my role as a product development and technology professional. I started my career as a software engineer after earning a Master’s degree in Computer Science back in the dark ages (aka 1987). Yes, we had computers back then but no fancy handheld devices and the Internet was purely an academic exercise. Throughout the next 20 years, I transitioned from writing code full-time to writing code part-time and managing. Somehow, I found myself managing more people, more functions and more department, while doing less and less hands-on programming. Not only did I become more “managerial”, but I found myself doing many other functions in the software and services industry, including product management (which I love), client services, business development and even (gasp!) sales support.
I’ll admit that relinquishing my role in product development and operations was hard at first because of the solid identity I had formed. Upon further self reflection, it occurred to me that reinforcing “identify” through a job function was hardly skillful and was simply manifesting habitual patterns that don’t sow positive seeds of karma. I’ve done and/or managed just about every function related to the software industry and I’ve learned that doing any of them with integrity and authenticity is what really matters. I’ve also learned that working in different functional areas is very educational and can help you to become more well-rounded in any position taken on in the future. I’ve become a software industry generalist and that isn’t such a bad thing.
My current job function as an enterprise social computing consulting, or coach, is very rewarding and a lot of fun. I develop all of our consulting materials, do a lot of research on the industry, stay active in social media channels and help NewsGator customers figure out how to successfully launch and manage a social computing project within their companies. How cool is that? Oh, well, there is that other part of building and managing the services business, but that is mighty rewarding and fun, too. So, here on a lovely Wednesday morning in the best city in the US, I consider myself pretty fortunate.