Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Programmer Metamorphosis Psychology 101

It is always interesting to read journal entries. I found one here that someone might find helpful. Fortunately it has a happy ending... :-)
I am undergoing a change of a drastic nature. I am going from being a Forms/Reports guy to being a Java guy. I have been elated during most of the professional “metamorphosis” time – especially where I did things I was afraid to do at first, but then I realized I could handle it. I was productive and HAPPY about having done these things…about having suspended my disbelief long enough to know that I was about to say I could do something, that I had no idea I how I would do…long enough to put on a happy face to the person that wanted someone who appeared confident to tell them we would make miracles happen. And after a fashion I would even see how I was going to get these things done. But I never would have tried if I had not suspended the disbelief long enough to say: ‘I can do this’ to someone without having the slightest idea of how I was going to make that happen.

And…when all was said and done…I was better for this “lie”, and so was my employer. I was always taught not to lie.

In the Constitution of System Engineering Services Corporation®, there is a phrase in there: that they expect their employees to Stretch. That is what I am talking about.

When I was doing the work and working miracles, I was happy, and excited…LIKE I HAVE WANTED TO BE IN MY PROFESSION ALL ALONG. I thought the right thing to do was to be faithful to your technology, and your boss and their wishes. But…what if your bosses are fearful? What if they don’t know this secret about stretching? What if they know it but don’t want to do it because it’s scary? Then they suffer. Their company suffers. Their employees suffer…at least those that buy into this mode of behavior.

Why should anybody GRIND IT OUT with embarrassingly outdated technology at their job which is providing a paycheck, but which is providing a place where they are losing ground? Why?? Everybody is failing then…employer and employee…

All you need is to find a risk taker…and to be a risk taker. And I think you have to renew your vows to be such a risk taking creature on a daily basis. But the result is you have fun, learn lots, become more marketable, make friends, um…is there a downside to this?

I am still learning gobs…I hope that never stops. I guess I have something to do with it stopping or not, eh?

I hope you can benefit from the following analysis, and hope it aides you in whatever metamorphosis you are currently undergoing.

12/15/08 – Slight addendum to this forward: I am currently looking for work. So this transition is causing me some pain now. I feel it is because there are not jobs running out of everybody’s ears now that the economy is messed up. It is also because it is late in the year and that is a notoriously bad time to be out of work. But there is another thing the fledgling risk-takers should be aware of. You should strive to find good positions where you will continue to learn, but most employers want you to already be experts in whatever their suite of technologies is…and you also have to be better at this particular suite than 90% of the other candidates who are applying for that position.

Obviously, this is a difficult situation. Yes it is. I do not regret trying to leave Forms/Reports behind. I am a little worried I have not been more responsible…on a bad day, but mostly this is just the trough of the biorhythm of learning a new bunch of technology. Because…as I recall: finding a new job is ALWAYS a little…OK: a LOT…scary! When I get my job I will be elated…not bored and internally dead and miserable.

1/8/09 – I may have found a place in Minnesota (Trane Corporation) that does custom JSF component development, and really likes my work. So: off I go (happily) to St. Paul for the next 6 months to a year.

1/20/09 – Trane just announced a hiring freeze. Darn. Back to more looking.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 -- OK: I am now at Fairfax, VA. Things are going well and we are speeding our way toward our first ADF app for this company. It would be ideal (in my boss’s words) if we could do work in WebLogic with the new ADF 11g technology. Wouldn’t that be sweet…??? Back on top of the world.

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