Little story: I like football. A lot. One of the things I like about football is the challenge of figuring out, on a week-to-week basis, which team is going to win upcoming contests, specifically against the line, working under the hypothetical that gambling on sports is legal in the US outside Nevada. That’s another post entirely. I digress. Anyway, I use a very rational process involving stats, more stats, some stats I made up, other stats other people made up and some consideration of the emotions of the participating teams. (That thudding sound you just heard was the 15 people who know my record so far this year reading the phrase “very rational process” and passing out cold from disbelief. Don’t worry, they’ll be fine).
Often times, I’ll do all that thinking and convince myself that a particular team is without a doubt going to win and all of this will happen at a conscious level. But somewhere, deep in the tangled morass of my subconscious, a little football fairy (no, not Jeff Garcia) will be telling me to forget all that hard work because it’s not true. That stupid little fairy never tells me WHY it’s not true, just that it isn’t. Invariably, I’ll tell the little fairy to take a flying leap and go with my rational theory. I almost always lose. Hunches and premonitions and fairies seem to be pretty important when dealing with systems that have so many variables that they can’t all possibly be accounted for in statistics.
My frustration comes in being a rational person (well, mostly. I’m highly irrational when it comes to folding fitted sheets but again, I digress). I want to know WHY that premonition or hunch occurs. But usually, that doesn’t happen.
What does any of this have to do with anything? Well, I’m currently in the same position in my job search. There’s this job, it’s a good job by all accounts that I can figure out and rationally, I think it could be a pretty darn good job. But somewhere, that stupid fairy is in the back of my head whispering something I can’t quite make out and it’s driving me insane. And this is far more important than some football game with $50 on the line. We’re talking about 2-5 years of my life here and that’s not something I can just deal with on a hunch.
So I’ve got to figure this out, someway, somehow. I think it may be a combination of A) giving up on sabbatical, B) the lengthy commute involved with this job, and C) my personal insecurity concerning being “The Expert”. That last part is important because at this job, there’d be two people in IT so the company would in many ways be dependent on our decisions and actions. Point A isn’t really that big of a deal because I’m not much of a sabbatical person in reality. I’ve done some cool stuff but I haven’t been nearly as productive as I should have been. Point B, well I think that if I like living in the country, I’m going to either start my own company or suck up and deal with a commute. I think that eventually, I’ll do the former. I want to have fun at my job with people I personally like and do it within 25 miles of my home. Right now though, I don’t think it’s quite the time to make that leap. I need about 2-3 more years of solid development experience.
So I think it really comes down to C. And in reality, that’s probably not that much different from B, e.g. it’s time to suck it up and realize that I am an expert. That just feels dirty to type. I don’t guess I’ll ever see myself as “the expert”. Maybe “an expert”, but never “the expert”. I’m mostly just a guy who looks for the best way to get the job done and then tries to get as close to that as possible. Maybe, in the end, that’s not a bad definition for expert in a field where lots of people seem to be content with mediocrity.
So in the end, I think I may pursue this job. It’s not a given by any means that they offer it to me because there are still 3 or 4 more interview type things to go through but I’m past the hard part, e.g. convincing them I’m worth every penny they might pay me which is never an easy task. Taking a job should be a mostly rational process and if the pieces that you are looking for exist in a job, you should take it. If something turns out later to be completely opposite from those pieces that they didn’t tell you about, well then I think you’re justified in looking elsewhere. But in the beginning, you have to go with what you can rationally figure out and tell that damn fairy to take a flying leap. Though it sure feels like I’m the one jumping off a cliff.