The last week or so, I’ve taken on some new roles at CubeSpace. I’m doing more of the budgeting and more of the web development. These are fairly similar functions in that they are both detail oriented, and require use of specialized software. They are also similar in the fact that they are bending my brain.
Working on these projects is good for me, it utilizes a part of my brain I’ve been using less recently: the highly analytical, detail oriented part. But thinking in an unaccustomed way stretches the brain, pushes it, and frankly, kind of hurts. The last week I’ve been coming up for air from working on these projects and felt a touch dazed, wrung out, even.
This is work I used to do with some frequency. I started my career as a market research analyst, and would spend days immersed in data or focus group tapes, analyzing and writing. This is fairly similar. More recently, however, most of my work has been more people focused than detailed focused, and the shift is both challenging and rewarding.
The rewards of this kind of work, for me, are that it has a concreteness that so much of what I do, doesn’t. The questions that can be asked are: does the budget balance? If not, keep working on it. Is the website doing what it is supposed to be? If not, keep working on it.
The challenge of this kind of work is also the concreteness of the questions. It’s the “if not” phrases above. When it’s not right, you can tell and need to keep working on it until you’ve got it in a workable state. This can be frustrating, but the reward of finally figuring it out is enhanced by fighting through the sense of frustration.
Satisfaction in work, by which I mean, feeling like you are fulfilled by your work at the level of your spirit, depends, at least for me, on some combination of working with people and helping them, and feeling challenged by what I’m doing. I’m also more engaged when I’m learning new things and pushing myself to step outside of my comfort zone. All in all, it keeps the work fresh, and keeps me moving in new directions.