Achievement Unlocked: Figure out what to do (Sabbatical #2)

Having time in abundance is a funny thing.Β It made me come clean with a lot of illusions I cherished about myself. Instead of “put your money where your mouth is” it’s “put your time where your mouth is”.

hermit-crabMoment of truth: I invested my time differently from how I thought I would. And I didn’t always welcome the realization of who I truly am because it clashes with how I would like to be. Some things I realized about myself during the last 10 weeks (in chronological order):

There’s no “Team” in “I”

Many topics I’m interested in – communication, collaboration, leadership – only work with other people. There’s a whole lot of stuff I can’t work on alone. Including making someone else’s life better. Bummer.

I’m only self-disciplined at work but not on my own behalf

I wasted about 3 weeks sitting down each day to write a book chapter and invariably failing and clicking on every link in my Twitter stream. After I gave up on trying I spend very happy days coding away.

I don’t have time, I take time. Truly.

All those things I thought I’d do, if only I had more time – eat healthier, do more sports, write a book, put more care into presents for my loved ones – I don’t do them now, either. I’ve had a 40-45h week and no children. If I didn’t do stuff it was because other things were more important to me. And they still are, even now that I have time in abundance.

Sadly “I don’t want to” is not nearly as acceptable and non-hurting as “I don’t have time (because of my stressful job)” to most people.

I’m reconciled with being employed and working in an office

All those days sitting in a grey office, watching the sunlit trees outside, thinking how I could work in the park if I was self-employed? Humbug! I don’t go out and work in the park anyway. I sit at home, coding.

I’d make a happy hermit

As long as I have great internet connectivity, I’d be happy to not leave my flat at all. Maybe take part in one meetup per week.

(This is strange inspected together with realization #1. My takeaway is that I’m an enthusiastic team member but working alone is okay, too.)

I want to (web) develop much more

My main goal was to figure out what I want to do professionally. Project manager was not fulfilling to me. For a variety of reasons – mainly variations of “practise what you preach” – I think I will be most happy by going back to developing. (That’s not necessarily the end goal, I can think of a few nice activities after that, but for now and the coming 3-5 years it is.)

Quite the challenge after 10 years of not developing full time. So I’ve got a little long list of stuff I need to know and skills to pick up, before I go back.

If you know a nice company I’m available from January 2014 πŸ™‚

Published by Corinna Baldauf

Corinna Baldauf has filled every Scrum role there is and then some. Currently she spends most of her days writing and occasionally facilitating retrospectives. She's interested in lean, agile, coaching, leadership & UX. You can follow her on Twitter, subscribe to her (Retromat) newsletter and buy her books.

6 replies on “Achievement Unlocked: Figure out what to do (Sabbatical #2)”

  1. So, what would that be ? Web Developer to build web sites or to build web applications ? PHP or JSF ?

    1. Hm, to you PHP is web sites and JSF is web applications?

      If you phrase it like that it’s web sites. I prefer scripting languages and I don’t like Java.
      Update: Without that equation I would say applications.

      I’m aiming for JavaScript, PHP. HTML and CSS are okay. I’ve got a UX background + basic graphic skills.
      I don’t care about the language so much (as long as it’s not Java ;)) and will learn whatever is necessary, e.g. RoR, Python, …

      If I become part of a cross-functional team I will code Java, too, if there’s nothing else to do. But I wouldn’t take a job with an explicit Java focus.

      If I get to choose, I’d pick in-house product development over agency work.

      And I’d like to end up somewhere where they write automated tests as I’d like to learn much more in that area. XP practices are also something I’d like to do.

      Wow, that was a long wishlist… That’s the ideal. I’m aware that I probably won’t find all of these.

  2. No, I don’t put (PHP=web sites) vs. (JSF=web applications), well maybe a little bit, but your answer covers everything I could’ve dared to ask πŸ™‚

  3. Hey Corinna!

    I am feeling the call to go back into full-time dev and design as well…it’s been years since I’ve coded sites directly on a Linux box using a shell.

    Look forward to a post detailing your path back – I’m hoping to do the same and work remotely while traveling in an RV! πŸ™‚


    1. Oh, while traveling! That sounds great! Across the US or internationally? Do you have a blog where you will tell about it?

      1. I’d love to do all of the above – would definitely love to travel in Europe. I was in Gaeta, Italy from 85-87 when I was a kid, and would love to go back now when I can enjoy things much more!

        Once I hit the road full-time, I’ll definitely have a blog detailing my journeys. I should start that sooner rather than later…maybe I’ll work on that this week! πŸ˜‰

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