maandag 31 januari 2011

Why I really love my job...

Last week I send a tweet "I really love my job" into the world. A colleague of mine asked me to tell exactly why and what I loved about my job. I started typing AN answer, but before I hit the 'tweet' button I thought of another answer and another. I realized I had lots of reasons why I really love my job. So instead of tweeting the answer I figured I would blog about it. The following are not all the reasons but it'll give you an idea...

First, I love the diversity of my work. It's not that I have to do the same thing over and over again. At one moment I'm involved at design of the product or my test activities, the next moment I'm heavy battling the product itself to give up its flaws. Sometimes I'm thinking very high level stuff and I need a birds-eye view, but the next moment I'm into the details.

I love to 'dramatize' my work, and luckily my job -I feel- gives me loads of opportunities to do that. I feel that work is much more fun if you put - what I call- fun-effort in it. When something might look boring, it's because you don't try hard enough to get yourself involved. Okay, this may sound very geeky or weird, but sometimes I'm 'Sherlock Holmes' and am investigating the murder (of the requirement), the next moment I'm the CSI team from CSI Las Vegas (chasing the evidence) and the next moment I'm Spock of the Star Trek Enterprise "that is illogical'. That doesn't mean I'm making fun OF my work, that means I'm making work FUN. And the 'added value' of this, is that I sometimes think of approaches that find extra, non thought of before, defects and issues, because I've gone where no (wo)man has gone before...

Controversary is maybe not an easy to grasp one, especially in the context I'm using it. But I love the fact (or is it opinion :-) ) that my work isn't well defined yet, and it probably never will. It's an 'opinion business' and certainly is a 'peoples'business'. There's traditionalists and context driven thinkers, and agile approaches, and standard methods. I don't 'follow' one of these particularly! I love that my work doesn't need for me to conform to one specific approach, method or 'school' to do it to satisfaction of my customer (and myself); I can use ALL the stuff that gets the job done. Pick the most applicable at that specific moment or need, change it when something better comes up. And luckily there are many people who think of stuff all the time so I can make use of it. It's also a challenge to figure out the right (for me and test) stuff that I find appealing.

Not only 'on the job'. I'm not only a tester 'on the job itself'. I find my work something that has loads of opportunity for development, discussion, learning and exploring. I feel it gives an added value to participate in these extracurricular activities. Visit events and conferences, reading blogs and tweet(discussions), reading books, participate in online events etc. Not only as participant do I find this useful, but I try to be as active as possible providing content too. Maybe not all the content is THAT high-level, but as long as it inspires -if only one- person to think for themselves; I'm satisfied. Sometimes it's not even the content I'm addressing but the thought processes that get to that content that I question. Quite philosophical but so much fun.

Colleagues all over the world, with different views and open mind. I think there are little crafts or expertises that are that open about the work they do. A lot of the stuff we see in IT, is my perception, is secretly done or not shared, because a competitor might benefit of it. I feel the Software Testing Business is quite open in this regard, sharing approaches, practices and all. Just do do the best job we can to service our clients. And although there are also people who have a pretty restricted view on a particular approach, they are still willing to share (sometimes a bit TOO intrusive and obligating though ;-) ). What I find the most 'lovable' is that it is allowed to have a different view and not be perceived as 'charlatan' when having those views or thoughts; it's the actions that you do that count. Making it a profession that is not only for the 'highly educated professors' to be the thoughtleaders, but also the 'man who thought himself to do an excellent job' to be a thoughtleader as well.

Excitement is one other. Lot's and lot's and lot's! All this stuff! There's so much to discover, so much to learn, so much to do! In softwaretesting I can do or learn something new every day if I want to! I'm a bit of a techie and I like to puzzle. Sometimes I can be busy for hours building a specific scenario in for example Selenium, trying to figure out how to trigger a certain response from the system. Another day I'll be browsing through the WeekendTesting stuff and learn from there. Last weekend I downloaded the RapidSoftwareTesting presentation and the RapidReporter tool. I had it on my list for a longer period now and finally got to it. I love that I can do all this and that there IS this much.

The unexpected. Not only when physically testing I'm surprised a lot of times, which makes it an interesting job to do. But I learn from unexpected places. Things from other areas of expertise, hobbies, books and persons which I can use doing my job. I know others have this too; I saw I presentation once about rowing by Paul Gerrard, about Gardening by Isabel Evans, both had an analogy with software testing that really made sense and stuff I could use. I have it with being a Casualty Simulation victim. I thinks this also has to do with 'us testers' having a very creative mind that also happens to have the ability to make certain connections very well.

These are a couple of things that make me really love my job....Feel free to contribute your own!