Question: What’s one thing you really enjoyed at a previous job?

2 minute read article Leadership   Technology   Wisdom   Career Comments

For my manager’s team meeting today, he asked everything this question:

What’s the one thing you really enjoyed about a previous job?

It’s an interesting question, so I figured I’d share it here.

I didn’t have to think too long on this one, although I did pause and think before answering. In retrospect though, I could answered this a bunch of ways, so let’s start with other possible answers I could have given!

Great benefits

When you’ve worked for a company that has great benefits, it’s really hard to NOT compare them to your current, pretty shitty, benefits. I really enjoyed having great benefits. There was a time when I’d go see a doc and the office staff would say, “wow, you have GREAT insurance!” That hasn’t happened in a very long time, and I think about it a lot.

Pairing / Mobbing

When I worked for GreatProductCo, we paired and mobbed every day! What I enjoyed about it was that we would tackle hard problems as a team, and then split off or pair for more mundane pieces. The team built some great stuff that I’m still proud of.

I don’t get to pair much these days, and I do miss it.

Not being billable

While I have been a consultant a good chunk of my career, I think back to the good ol’ days of working for FinTech or GreatProductCo or even Big Tobacco when I didn’t have to track my time and be worried about billable hours.

I enjoyed the days I could roll in, knock out my work, and then take it easy the rest of the day without someone breathing down my neck about my hours.

Leading a team I actually worked with on a daily basis

When I was a leader at FinTech, I worked directly with the people who reported to me. I was the one finding work for them, I was the one helping to review their PRs, I was in design and architecture meetings with them; it was awesome! When it came time for raises and bonuses, I knew exactly what they had done in the last month, quarter, and year.

At my last couple jobs, the people who have reported to me have actually been on different teams, or at different clients. It’s much more difficult, but it’s how things are done, so I have to deal with it.

The answer I gave

What I answered during the meeting was:

I miss being an indie consultant because I could fire bad clients, or not take on what I considered low-quality work.

Pretty self-explanatory, and yes, when I was an indie, I did fire clients and I did turn down low-quality work. I also worked on some really cool projects.

Final Thoughts

Previous jobs are previous for a reason. Sometimes the reason is good, sometimes the reason is bad. Either way, I don’t regret any of them being “previous,” but I do miss being an indie, and I do miss working with smart people on cool things and pairing or mobbing.

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