For the past fourteen years (almost fifteen including my time as a temp) I have worked at Optus which is one of the largest telecommunications companies in Australia. That time is shortly coming to an end.
I have never mentioned my employer in the past for several reasons. I didn't want to publicly criticize them and equally I do not wish to offer false praise. I liked the idea of being able to write freely without my comments being related back to a particular company. Also unless you worked at Optus you won't have seen my work as it was used internally.
During my time at Optus I have learnt almost all I know programming wise. Some was learnt on the job and some was learnt outside it. I will always remain very grateful for the opportunities I have been given, such as moving from customer service to development and the room I had to explore different programming solutions.
The analogy I came up with is that my time at Optus has been like catching a VLine train (VLine is the regional Victorian train service) . VLine trains are comfortable and fairly reliable. They are sometimes busy, loud or smelly. An inspector checks my ticket every day but I always have one. The journey is not overly exciting and some times I feel like I can’t do the trip anymore, but then I see the traffic or hear about someone's even worse job.
I had been unsettled at Optus for a while. The company went through a restructure that was bigger and very different from what I had expected. I no longer felt my job was entirely secure but I felt some security knowing any redundancy would come with a reasonable payout and I had confidence I could find new job when I needed to. The feeling at Optus was never the same again though.
It can’t be good that I felt internal communications were just propaganda. I wanted to tell every manager regurgitating rhetoric about being a “Wingman” to do the chicken dance. While I am good at ignoring politics and issues going on around me, I don't think it's healthy to work in that environment for too long.
So what should I do?
Do I be a crap employee and blame the company for de-motivating me. No thats just an excuse.
Do I rage quit. No thats only going to hurt me.
Do I use work time to work on private projects. No thats just being a jerk.
The new team structure/model I was now part of, while not to my liking, actually threw up challenges I enjoyed thinking about and working on. I had always told myself that I would leave as soon as I stopped finding things to explore and learn. I now realise that my nature would probably never let me stop thinking and exploring in any situation. Thats a good trait but it meant I needed to reset my trigger points for moving on.
I have a saying I try and live by:
“There is nothing more dangerous than accepting your own excuses.”
I used to think I was incredibly smart because I could come up with a great excuse for anything and took great pride in getting people to accept those excuses. What I didn’t realise is that the excuses were only really important to me. The other party was only really interested in the subject I was giving the excuse for. They may be willing shift the blame but they are still disappointed none the less. If there is one criticism I would publicly offer to Optus it is that I think too often Optus accepts its own excuses. For me it was time I stepped up my efforts to find a new job.
So I am really excited to say that I am joining the fantastic dev team at SitePoint / Learnable. The whole process so far has been a delight and I am really looking forward to joining them after Easter.
*Yes quoting myself is incredibly vain but hey it's my blog.