Saturday, October 21, 2006

A spectrum of complacency

I'm a little overwhelmed with my new job as a software development engineer. The project I'm working on is a huge platform in and of itself, and it can get really frustrating building a software platform and building software on the platform at the same time, because nothing will ever work right the first few tries.. and when changes are made to the platform, it causes a domino effect of other changes that must be made to accommodate.

Most of my software development experience isn't with Microsoft technologies (think C++, Perl, PHP, MySQL, bash/tcsh, Linux as opposed to C#, ASP, MS SQL, PowerShell, and Windows).

Most of my software development experience has also been working on smaller projects in college or small consulting/hobby gigs. Building scalable enterprise server software is certainly a different beast.

So, it's been overwhelming and brain-draining, but at the same time incredibly exciting and educational. Some days I think to myself, "What did I get myself into? Am I really good enough for this?" Then I look back at all the jobs I've ever had, and realize that every great one had me thinking that same exact thing for the entire first 4-6 weeks.

Great jobs take you out of the complacent end of the spectrum and drop you into the overwhelmed end. I suspect there's some ever-challenging, constantly-evolving job out there that keeps one from slipping too far into complacency, but I've yet to experience one myself. My observation is that as people get better at and more accustomed to what they do, it becomes less challenging, exciting, interesting, motivating, educational - until they switch or re-invent their role (or unless they are constantly re-inventing and truly on the lookout for challenge and change, which might require a truly special role and organization).

So for now, I find myself "drinking from the firehose" again (that's some official Microsoft HR lingo for ya).

Anyway, enough work talk. Here are some cool things I've clipped over the week and thought cool to share:

This Sony Bravia ad featuring massive paint explosions is awesome - taking a whopping 10 days and 250 people to film.

Apple shipped new iPods with a Windows virus. Instead of simply owning the mistake, they place blame on Microsoft and Apple's "contract manufacturers". This blew my mind. Even the Microsoft-hating Slashdot crowd saw through it in their comments.

Paul Graham has written a new essay entitled The 18 Mistakes That Kill Startups. It looks yummy, and I plan to read it this weekend.

I'm pondering buying this Day Of The Week clock for my office.

Have a great weekend!

1 comment:

Ali said...

Hey Adam,

I feel almost exactly the same way, I recently started at Microsoft and know just what the "drinking from the firehose" feeling is like.

I write about it on my blog.