anyone have a career compass?

Now as anyone who has read the earlier posts to this blog, I am in the process of seeking new employment.  Part of this whole ordeal has required me to re-evaluate what direction I would like to focus my career on.  I’ve worked in Big Business, I’ve taken my stab at startups, and have had personal and professional success in both.  Each has their own interesting challenges, as well as their, lets call them not so interesting points.

I’ve now had a couple interviews, well mostly with different recruiters who are looking to place people ( I’m in the process of writing up another post specifically about recruiters, and my opinions about them, so stay tuned ).  Some of these interviews have been, to me anyways, productive, even if they haven’t landed me the ideal job offer yet.  What I have learned, based on conversations I’ve had during this job search, is that the best fit type of position doesn’t really exist elsewhere than in a small company.

See what I enjoy most is working with small dynamic teams, having “carte blanche” to get from beginning to end.  I strongly believe in “find the best solution to solve your problem, not fit your problem into this solution”.  The problem with Big Business ( of which I’m interviewing at two of those companies now ), is that they usually have “fixed” selection of tools and technology, and you must, from that selection, solve the problem at hand.  Now don’t get me wrong, I have worked for Big Business, and have enjoyed, and learned a lot while I was there.  I have the required skills to solve the problems within a fixed set of constraints, so it’s not a matter of “can I do the job” its more like “do I want that kind of job”.

That is the pleasure of a small company, finding the best solution available with minimal restrictions.  However small companies don’t usually have the budget of the larger ones, so your selection of options is usually “as cheap as you can find”.  Fortunately for us, open source is a wonderful thing, and gives us plenty of choices ( but this isn’t meant as a closed/open source debate, the time may come for that, but that’s neither here or now ).  The down side to this, is what I’m living right now, searching for a new job when money runs out.

I have come, over the years, to accept that I am not “the idea man”.  I know a few of them, and I am not one of them.  What I am however, is the guy that will get your idea done.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with some extremely talented people over the years, and with them we have accomplished miracles by most standards.  My strength is in being resourceful enough, and skilled enough to solve the problem, and getting the right team and motivating them to get there.

My internal debate now is focused on do I tempt my hand in another small company, or head back to Big Business.  With a family, and young children Big Business seems like the wise choice, at least for a couple years.  I can always work on some extra-curricular projects for the challenges, I have a few open source projects I have contributed to in the past that I would like to get back into.  Or a serial entrepreneur friend who is always looking for a resourceful person.  But a small company always has that, “je ne sais quoi” that gets you interested and motivated.

any comments/recommendations/suggestions?

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Tim Voet has been in the IT industry since 1997. Tim started his career doing tech support and network administration at a large Pharma company. He then spent the next 12 years doing development, leading and managing development teams, mostly in Java, but also some PHP, and Ruby on Rails. Tim has always hands on, and loves challenges that make most people cringe. When he isn't at work, he's spending as much time as he can with his wife and 3 boys. Life can be a busy time with that many young kids. He is currently open to new consulting opportunities, please feel free to contact him with your project information tim - at - timvoet dot com

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