So here I sit, wondering where the time went.
A year ago, I had finished digging my way out of a performance hole. I tackled learning a new programming language and have since wrestled it to the ground. It’s now my preferred language when I reach for my IDE to whip out a new web page or application.
I dropped one of my training curricula and favored another. Probably a good decision, but I’m not always sure.
And my performance review went pretty well. Straight forward. To the point. I hit dead in the middle right out of the gate, exactly where the bosses are supposed to keep the grunts. We can’t get too high a score too often or we have to either be paid well or be promoted. Both mean more pay, and that’s not good. As much as I love the company I work for, as much as I will claw and fight to retain my job, there are some things which could use improvement. That’s one of ’em.
This year, though, I smashed it out of the park. I hit over 90% OTD on my deliverables. I crushed the “pet projects” and stand poised to replace a lot of what was in place when I got here with newer, more stable and less buggy technology, full of things like error handling and elimination of reliance on Office suite programs to run unattended tasks.
Poised, but not ready to pull the trigger yet.
And I’m standing at the doorway of a new review. It’s that time again; my boss is preparing his bullets to fire at me. This isn’t supposed to be a good thing, I don’t believe. I think I’m supposed to be knocked down as much and as far as I can be. Too bad, it’s too late this year. I think I’ll be dinged again for not completing something called the development plan for FY14. I don’t know how that will impact my review, but it can’t be that much because it wasn’t measured, or even mentioned, as potentially being a measurement of my performance.
I’m edgy. I don’t know when the review will be. I scored above average on it according to all measurements. Now the nitpicking to lower the score has to be wrapped up and I have to be faced down and told all the things I should have done better.
I guess I don’t mind. I like to improve. At some point, I stopped and inventoried what I know and where I am as a “developer.” I’m not far. I have a lot to learn. Even after all these years, I have a lot to learn. Some of the gaps are the result of being self-taught, and absconding copious amounts of code from the web. Some of them result from learning only what I need to know to achieve a particular goal or objective. If I needed to accomplish a certain task, I would learn what I needed to deploy that task, finish the application requested or do what was asked. Then I moved on to the next one, and did that again. And again.
So, there’s not a fluid path through my learning curve. It’s ragged edged and crooked, and yes, there are blank spots in it. I need to get those filled, but there are so many other things I have to learn and do at the same time.
So another year has passed. I’m doing things on the home front for myself, to prepare for a new path. It’s not inevitable, but I want to be prepared. I am firm in my belief that this job is the answer to years of prayer, years of tears and frustration, but I also continue to seek the Lord’s will for my life and purpose for our family. I will continue to add to my skills, to sharpen and refine them as best I can, and to do whatever it takes to move forward and not be in the position I was in before I go this job. I couldn’t find work; I didn’t have the desired skills for any company, it seemed. And I’m sick of falling back to low-paying, hard-stress work. Programming is the day job for me, at least as far as I can tell. (I’m jealous of those who have writing gigs full time, but you also write. I only DREAM of writing now.)
Anyway, I have to be prepared, and I have to be better prepared than I am. With just a little focused training and work, I can jump my pay something like 20% in a couple of more years. I don’t know if my salary will keep pace with the world’s costs, but I’ll burn that bridge when I get there.
Another year has come and gone, and it feels like I have to prepare myself for something.
I just wish I knew what.