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Career shift #3 - only 2 more to go. Edited

According to the UK's Financial Times you need to plan for 5 careers in your lifetime. I'm not sure I'll rack up that many, but I've already worked in customer service for 4 years, where at my worst point working in a call centre, I was shouted at around 330 times a week and in my second career I worked full time as a software tester. Whilst I found an uncanny natural affinity for that role and saw a distinct career in it, that permanent relationship wasn't really a good fit for me, as it wasn't taking me where I really wanted to go. So I set up my own business and went freelance, a move that allowed me to drive my training and the testing services I provided in a direction that gave me drive and purpose. I've learned so much during this time and overall it's been such a positive experience. 

Now I find myself at the career junction for a third time after hitting what I can only describe as a technical T-junction and not liking the view whether I looked left or right. To become a pure technical tester or head down the road of management once more, neither of which really appeal, because whichever I choose I feel that the things I once loved about my job have been squeezed out by the direction the industry is taking and to be honest that makes me more than a little sad. After having mooched about on the internet trying to find a few pearls of wisdom I came across a blog in which the author said the right career is one in which you "lose yourself" and that's when the metaphorical light bulb lit up for me.

I've spent a good portion of the last decade officially, and sometime unofficially, re-configuring JIRA and Confluence for my clients and to be honest, in some cases it was the best part of the work. I use both for my own business as well as often finding myself the unwitting Atlassian admin for my clients, as few people seem to understand how they work behind the scenes. And if it is that I should be doing something in which I lose myself then I think it must be JIRA admin, as to be honest it's the one thing that I do as part of my job that makes me lose track of time - in a GOOD way! I love a challenge and I love being creative. I love problem solving and I love that feel good factor when you create something that people use and it makes life easier for them.

And so here I am looking to take a leap into my third career, taking nearly two decades of software development and delivery experience with me. I've realised that far from a career T-junction I can just create a new road for myself, one that isn't immediately visible, but who knows what I'll find once I start exploring. I have hope that I'll find an entry / mid level role where I can take my years of Atlassian tool experience, delve into what the products have to offer and develop my skill set into something I feel is worthwhile.

I'd love to hear your stories about career change too as I think in today's workplace with distributed teams it can sometimes be harder to find a work "home" in which you feel you fit and all too often shifting jobs mid life can be daunting.

And if you know of an entry / mid level JIRA admin role that needs filling just let me know :) 

My feedback p.s. (thanks to the lovely community people who've given me advice)

- my CV can be found here: https://1drv.ms/b/s!As5nm38HRoosg_Vn22YT1naPjwSzrw?e=xIjjKf

- Currently based in London, UK. Happy to consider local roles / relocation

5 comments

I think the notion of "career" has shifted over the years.   When I was a kid, my parents and grandparents did shift career (fewer than 5 times though), the more surprising ones being swimming coach -> biochemist -> anthropologist, and teacher -> health worker -> chocolate taster -> counsellor

My careers so far have been counsellor -> developer -> environment manager -> Atlassian geek

The notable differences between the changes I see is that my elders all changed environment with their career changes - always a change of employer and often a change of town of work (or living).  I have not changed place much (live in a small town, worked maybe 95% of the time here or in London), and my jumps through the last three careers all took place for one employer.

The changes were scary, and change has come up a couple of times recently at work and I was only talking to community people yesterday about "retiring" - I don't think I could just stop working, I'd need to find something else.  I certainly can't afford to retire yet but I had thought about other careers and what I'd like to do to occupy myself when I do. I think Jack Brickey might have something to add to that!

The word "daunting" springs to mind.  But it can often be a fantastic thing to do!

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Definitely agree that it is a fantastic thing to do if the right opportunity arises, or even if the "could be right" opportunity comes up - you never know what you can do with those. In an ideal world I'd be living on an island painting sea scapes and selling them to tourists, but thinking about it that could be my retirement back up plan when the time comes, who knows. 

"chocolate taster" - I'm a bit envious

I hear the word "encore" used instead of "retiring" around here. As in, "for my encore career"

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Oct 09, 2019

Thanks for sharing this @Jill it was a good read.

I really liked the part of "I don't like the paths available so I made my own".

I got lucky, I had started my career in software testing, with the goal of moving to software development.  I fell into the role of admin for all Atlassian tools, and I couldn't be happier now.

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Falling into that admin role was a fantastic piece of good luck - I'm just looking forward to finding out where my self made path will lead. Bring it on! 

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You may want to post a link to your LinkedIn or Resume / CV if you're hoping for someone to point you towards an open role. It would help us understand your background and pass your info along beyond this post.

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Right, where are you located? Willing or not to relocate? Permitted to work etc

@Boris Berenberg - Atlas Authority / @Matt Doar__ LinkedIn  - good advice, thank you. Will edit the post to include a link to a downloadable CV and the additional information suggested. Thanks for the feedback.

Change is scary and I'm not generally a fan of it. Ask my wife. 


But I have managed to go from network switch developer to integration developer to software toolsmith. And then within the Atlassian ecosystem from being a one-man consultant to technical lead for a group of consultants, and then to a large company helping with Jira and other tools. Add in author and plugin vendor somewhere along the way too.

I think the biggest change was deciding to be self-employed for five years. But I had a lot of good advisors that helped me with that. 

Good luck with the changes coming up for you. People want you to succeed!

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Oct 09, 2019

@Matt Doar__ LinkedIn I love that term "Software Toolsmith"!  That's a great and unique way to describe it.

@Jill - we can help. Please drop Aaron a mail

Like Jill likes this

Thanks @gmek11 . I touched base with Aaron a couple of months ago so I'm on his radar already. Really kind of you to mention it though.

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