I had a shitty job once. I know, hard to believe, it must be such a unique and rare experience. Don’t worry recent employers, it wasn’t you. It really was a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (the ’90s).
I won’t bore you with the particulars, but something interesting grew out of it. One day while walking with some co-workers at lunch, we came across a previous co-worker who had left the company for greener pastures. We all unloaded our woes on this poor unsuspecting chap, how bad things were, how much we hated it. It was pretty pathetic.
After we parted ways, my current co-workers and I realized how we had let ourselves slip. Sure our jobs sucked and our boss was a lunatic (he really was) but that was not an excuse for letting things get so far. We made a pact that day that we would find ways to make things better, if only for ourselves. And so we formed the PWA, the Positive Workers Association. We would encourage one another to build our skills and make our work lives generally better. We set goals and held each other accountable. These goals were all things that helped us at our current job, so it wasn’t like we were learning Italian to pass the time.
My company uses the 37 Signals product Know Your Company. Today’s question was “Is anything holding you back from doing the best work you can do right now?”. My answer covered a lot of ground, but one area that I touched on was that the things I was doing to learn and grow lacked planning and a road map. I invest a lot of time into being better at what I do, and the last few years have been about getting better as a web developer, specifically in Ruby.
But where do I go now? And who is going to call bullshit on me when need be.
So maybe it is time for a rebirth of the PWA, specifically I think it is time to build some new mentoring and peer relationships. Good relationships go both ways, so hopefully you are also interested in finding ways to improve yourself and would benefit from a sounding board or a bullshit caller. If you are interested, I’d love to connect with you, especially if you are in the Boston area. Ping me on the twitters or contact me mdenomy at gmail dot com.