(Don’t force the rounded peg in the square hole)
Now that the dust is settling down, I finally had a little bit of extra time during the last holiday in Brazil to write this blog post. This year I decided to make some adjustments in my career, and I’ll give you more details as I think they might help other professionals who face the same dilemma.
First of all, choosing your career path is not as simple as it seems. Today, the enterprise IT industry (where I have worked for several years) allows you to grow in several areas: services, training, sales, support, people management, project management, engineering, technical marketing, etc. You can become a (Software or Support) Engineer, a (Product or Project) Manager, a SRE, a Tester, a (Solutions or Consulting) Architect, etc. Even if you decide to become a Software engineer, you must choose what kind of Software you will produce (Mobile, Game, or Desktop. Frontend or Backend, etc), and the suitable technology stack for it. See!?
Personally, in a Y career path, I always had the tendency to choose the “technical path” instead of the “executive path”. In other words, I prefer to work as an individual contributor, instead of management. Today I prefer to seek and become an architect or engineer than become a (people or project) manager. Even roles that require similar skills it’s ok to have your own preference. For example, I prefer to work as a product manager close to developer’s communities instead of becoming an account manager. And that ‘s ok! In a world full of opportunities, having a clear direction on where do you want to go helps you a lot!
My career has been focused (even before joining Red Hat) on opensource software, Java, and software development. That background (Java/Opensource/Software development) led me to Red Hat in 2009 where I stayed for 10 years. At Oracle I worked with Java, Opensource (Linux, Kubernetes, Verrazzano, etc) and Developer’s communities.
As a Java tech lead, community driven, and opensource oriented professional, I had the expectation to continue my career path as I mentioned in this blog post where I even named myself “a Java/Linux guy “. However, after a whole year, I was feeling frustrated and unhappy with the role. This feeling is more common that you think. Believe me!
But let me tell you a redepmption story: One day my therapist gave me a shape sorting cube and made me try to put a round peg into a square hole. Through that toy, he led me to understand that my previous role and I were not aligned. The issue was not the rounded peg nor the square hole by themselves. The issue was trying to force them to fit. So, I decided to quit in June, and go back to my roots to work as a Java tech-lead focusing on architecture and design, development productivity and best-practices, containers, Cloud Computing, DevOps, and other related technologies.
I can consider myself lucky for two reasons:
First: I’ve been taught that we should never work exchanging time for money. Instead I work to satisfy myself and customers by delivering what I know best (because I love what I do).
Second: In August I returned to Red Hat as a Senior Middleware Architect to work with the following technologies: Openshift, Keycloak, Kafka, Quarkus, Wildfly/EAP, 3Scale, Camel, Tekton, ArgoCD and much more. Red Hat lives in my heart, and I call it “home” for having the same culture, technologies and the kind of products that I admire: Enterprise opensource software . Furthermore, Red Hat supports and encourages all employees to do community contributions like conferences and opensource code. For those who know me better: Doesn’t this sound totally aligned with my career objetives? I definitely think so!
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” —Steve Jobs