Jimmy Breck-McKye

A lazy programmer

The Work I Want

Every so often, it’s worth reflecting on what we really want from our vocations. What do we enjoy most about our work, and how do we enjoy doing it? The sooner we’re honest with ourselves and our colleagues, the better. There’s no point labouring in a job that won’t ever meet those needs.

To that end, here is a personal manifesto of the kind of work I want. If you’re thinking of hiring me, you might want to take a read.

The big things

In the broadest terms, I want a career that lets me research, think, and share my knowledge. I want to generate big ideas, solve problems that matter to people, and share my answers gregariously. I’m not motivated by salary or working conditions so much as recognition and the chance to exercise my mind. I think that’s fair enough.

What I like

I like big, audacious projects where I have responsibility, and I like to see them through start to finish.

I enjoy having status and importance – I won’t lie – but in return I give my time and knowledge generously. I am generally a believer in the ‘leader-as-servant’ philosophy. I am very sensitive to issues that affect my team and go to great lengths to help resolve them.

I work independently, and generally like to be my own boss. It’s not that I resent managers, as that I don’t really do ‘being managed’. Managers are people I use to achieve my employer’s agenda.

I’ve not done much management, and the little I have done I haven’t enjoyed. I can do it, just not that efficiently.

I value my autonomy, and I embrace individual responsibility. I like to create artefacts that are identifiably mine. Conversely, I don’t hide behind excuses when things go wrong.

I like to work with intelligent, open-minded colleagues. I sometimes struggle to negotiate with stubborn, wrong-headed people, because I value correctness over consensus.

I have strong ethical values, and I do not compromise them.

What I’m like

I am quite goal-oriented. The advantage of that is that I’m focused, driven and decisive. The disadvantage is that I don’t really multitask and get frustrated when things hit a roadblock.

I research my options thoroughly. I arm myself with detailed knowledge and don’t make an assertion until I know I can defend it robustly. Perhaps sometimes I take longer to make decisions than necessary. Then again – I don’t think I’ve made many poor ones.

I care deeply about the outcome of what I do, and the needs of those I work with, the quality of what I produce, and I feel great pain and responsibility when things go sour.

I think people find me impressive. If they do, that’s partly because I don’t often risk being seen to make a mistakes. That’s one reason I like to work alone.

I’m very self-sufficient, and I don’t need much maintenance. Sometimes I take a little too long to seek help.

Don’t pair me up with someone on a task; I’m too introverted for that. I can do it, but I go home exhausted.

What I’m interested in

I’ve been a web developer for about four years now. It’s had its high points, but it’s become a little stale. But what do I want to do next?

Right now I can’t give a solid answer. I’m still in the midst of exploring ideas and careers. These have ranged from game development, to journalism, to working in the civil service and even becoming an academic.

Making that choice might take a little time – as I said above, I do like to mull over my options. In the meanwhile, I might do a little contracting or consulting. Front end development may not be a true passion, but helping people deliver great products that really matter is still something I’m motivated by. If you think you’ve something that fits, why not drop me an email?

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