Friday, December 15, 2006

Thriving On Change

Came across the word journeyman after years today. The last time was probably in the 80s when I read Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge, the story of Michael Henchard - the journeyman hay-trusser. The article talks about the revival the trade is undergoing today but to a lot of us who are consultants in the IT business being journeymen has always been part of what defines our work.

Unlike them we trade our skills for more than hospitality or a paycheck - we seek change for the rich diversity of experience it brings, for the long term professional associations and sometimes just for the thrill that comes with change of scenery.

As one journeyman is quoted in the article "Travel not only broadens the mind, it expands the skills base, humanity and cultural awareness. It is travel, rather than manners, that makes the man."

A co-worker who I enjoyed working with relocated recently. Watching him go through the familiar motions of preparing for a move made me wistful with longing for change. I have been in the same city for two years now. While I enjoy the stability that it provides my life outside work, I am too used to the adrenalin rush of change to want status quo for ever.

I'd much rather find a new gig in an industry I have never worked in before, challenge myself to translate my unrelated experience to be useful in new circumstances, learn about their business, learn to thrive in a different work environment and get to know a bunch of new people. Along the way there will be new friendships made and new places discovered.

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