Recently my employer organized a 2 day work-shop on good interviewing skills. Initially I was very reluctant to go as I didn’t think I would gain much out of it. However I was pleasantly surprised & found the work-shop very interesting & useful right from the beginning. It opened my mind to the possibility of measuring things in an interviewee that I thought were not measurable. It also made me think on some bigger issues with respect to my own professional life that I had been ignoring. In one of the sessions the topic being discussed was “To find if the candidate’s long time goal & the company’s vision fit”. While this topic was being discussed – my mind came out with a very elementary question – What is my long time goal?
This question looks amazingly simple but it troubled me a lot that I didn’t have an equally simple answer to it. I started in search for an easy answer to this question by analyzing things that I enjoy and/or want out of my career. The portion below in this post describes these things & in the end arrives at a simple answer to this question.
a) Money – I certainly need money. It is a very important element that in the past has been the deciding factor on taking or leave a job offer. Could making money be my goal? The statement stresses on making money – I have to earn that money. Getting rich without earning it might not be enough to make me happy. So I started shamelessly with “My Goal is to make money” – Some more thinking & I realized that though this goal statement is correct, but it is not complete – there has to be something more to it.
b) Developing Software – I am a software engineer and I enjoy my work. I enjoy building software that simplifies people’s lives. I enjoy improving/enhancing its capabilities. I enjoy taking it to the next level & raising the bar for the competition. With these thoughts I refined my goal statement to – “My goal is to make money by developing software”. However this was also not it. There was still something missing.
c) Software Product – Since so far I have been working at Products Based organizations & have been enjoying it, I can call my self a products person. Though I have nothing against Services but its just that I think would enjoy products more. With this thought – I can further refine my goal statement to – “My goal is to make money by developing software products”.
d) My product – It is extremely important for me to feel the software product is my product. IMO without this association it would feel like working on somebody else’s product – which would kill the fun in being a product’s organization. With this thought I can refine my statement further “My goal is to make money by developing my software product”
e) World Class – The product has to be the best in its class. Technology wise the product should be clear winner or it should be attempting through innovation something that hasn’t been attempted yet. This adds another word in my goal statement, which now becomes – “My goal is to make money by developing my world-class innovative software product”.
f) More than Engineering – Getting a thumbs-up for your product from an end-user is perhaps the most satisfying experience one can get. However to have a good satisfied customer you need to give your customer a good experience at all the touch-points. This requires a lot more work than just developing a good product. Fortunately, since I have been working in small start-ups I have had the experience to notice (and sometimes work in) these different areas: presales, tech support, documentation that go along with engineering to improve a customer’s experience. To summarize, I would eventually want to handle more than just engineering. So this refines my goal to
“My goal is to make money by developing & selling my world-class innovative software product”
After having arrived at a short and simple answer to the simple question – I wondered was it worth the effort. Yes I think it was – Now I have parameters to measure my happiness at work. Also since I know exactly what would make me happy; I can ask for these other things (besides money) from my manager during my performance review 🙂