For five years, I’ve been teaching other people how to do their jobs. At the beginning of the year I stepped away from the wonderful world of training and spent a couple of months fixing other people’s problems. I now analyze data for a living. That’s a lot of change in a short period of time. It’s been an uneasy couple of months – thankfully I’m still with the same company. So, while my job title has changed… my employer has not.
As much as I enjoyed teaching, I suffered burnout. I was great at fixing other people’s problems, but that’s not what I’d consider my ideal job. Now I get to look at facts and figures all day: numbers, and rates, and staffing, and time, and percentages… If the data is good, I tell people that they’re doing a wonderful job. If the data is unpleasant, I have to figure out and report suggestions how to prevent the problem from recurring. And I enjoy it.
An employee that I trained occasionally stops by my office to chat and hang out. He looked over the plethora of charts, graphs, spreadsheets, and databases open on my computer screens and he watched as I copied/pasted information into one of my hourly reports. I’m sure it all looked like a blur to him.
"Looks thrilling," he said, voice dripping with sarcasm.
With zero explanation and a brief glance at the two monitors on my desk, I can understand how anyone would think my job is boring. But for me – it is thrilling. I feel like the crew aboard the Nebuchadnezzar, in The Matrix, "watching" Neo and Morpheus practice kung fu. There’s nothing on the screen but numbers and symbols, yet I see a picture. The sheer quantity of data in front of me is intimidating – it’s enough to make the most hardened emotionless men run away crying in fear. The single fact that I can make sense of it all is immensely gratifying.
Why do I mention all of this? Since the beginning of the year, I haven’t been able to shake this feeling that in the grand scheme of things… this is all so insignificant.