Comfort zones are interesting because often times you don't realize you are in one. You've become accustomed to the status quo of life. The status quo is different for everyone. When was the last time you did something uncomfortable to get outside your comfort zone? When was the last time you made the hard decision to do something different?
My life is repetitive and boring. I wake up, work out, work, watch TV, go to bed, repeat. That is oversimplifying but close enough to make the point. The only uncomfortable part of my day is my workout. The workouts I do are always different. Barbells today, pull-ups tomorrow, kettlebell swings the day after that. The intensity is up to me based on the amount of weight and how quickly I can complete the task. I do one hard thing a day to get outside my comfort zone.
Time for change
I've noticed for the last couple of years that my job is too comfortable. It isn't unpleasant but the work is the same and the number of new skills to learn that I can use are few. From a career perspective, I have become stagnant. I'm still learning new skills. Last year I learned about (Python [my github] and Ansible). I also completed two certifications (CCDE and GIAC GSEC).
The problem is I learn these and because I'm not re-enforcing them through work tasks I lose them again. I've also convinced myself that if I want to advance at my current employer I need to become a supervisor. I want to be able to make a larger impact than I am today. I can do that as either a supervisor or individual contributor but it has become obvious to me that I need a job change.
The reason I want to change jobs is simple. I want to continue growing my skills. Skills that I can re-enforce daily. I've come to the conclusion that I don't need to change jobs once but target a new job every 18-24 months. What isn't clear to me is whether that will make me an expert beginner. One thing I'm certain of is that I'm NOT an expert in any of the skills I've learned and not used.
My challenge to myself is to find a new job in the next 18 months. Today is February 2nd, 2019. I'd like to be in a new position by June 1st, 2020. Why so long you ask? I did start a new job this year. I'm teaching at a local community college, Nashville State. I've also started a Masters program at Georgia Tech in Cybersecurity. My plate is too full do anything before June of this year.
As for the rest of that year? It provides plenty of time to network and plan out my next job. I plan to remain at my current employer but my biggest hesitation comes from leaving my boss. I like him and he finds value in my contributions. A new job with a bad supervisor would be disappointing. Worst case though that would be an 18 month worth of learning new skills.
To put this all in perspective your career is a huge part of your life. Each job in your career should be bringing value to both you and your employer. I have been in my current role for 8 years. I've reached the top title within my organization. I could learn more about our internal process but they have no value outside of this company. The choice is clear with little left to learn. The amount of value I have left to gain from my current role is small. My contributions to my company remain the same. This imbalance is why it is time to make a change.
I'm ready to continue learning and growing. Check back here for a career update!