Your Job: Change or Modify?

Rare indeed is the person whose wanted to change what they do – moving up, moving to something else, starting a different career entirely.

Often when I encounter people who want to use their fannish/geeky interests on the job a change is what people are looking for, in industry if not actual job being done.  That's understandable, rare indeed is a person doing exactly what they like exactly where they want (and rarer still is such a person being satisfied with wht they have years from now).

Now in an effort to make one's job geekier, I'm all behind looking to change jobs and industries, but let me add the suggestion that it may be easier to modify one's job or area of work than to make a radical change, at least right away.

So you may not want to stop being a Product Manager, but see if you can shift to managing a different product set or subset.  You may be a technical writer, and want to work more on creative materials.  You may work in advertising and want to work with different (and more fun) clients.

The advantage of making these modifications are:
1) You can still leverage your interests without making radical changes.
2) You can see if you actually like the changes you're making.
3) They may open more opportunities for you – including ones you haven't seen.
4) You show initiative at work.
5) You avoid a radical and possibly troubling shift.
6) You may delay or hold off an unwanted relocation.
7) You get to network more.
8) You can try out your bright ideas.

I've seen people do this modification strategy a number of times – starting a new program that focuses in their interests, volunteering to become more proficient in a technology, etc.  It's win-win in many ways – and in a tough economy lets you get change you need with less risk and stress.

– Steven Savage