I first became aware of PMA, or positive mental attitude, through Bad Brains. They’ve got it. I’ve always tried to have it – it’s much more pleasant for everyone when I’m in a positive state of mind. And with that in mind, I’m going to do some assessments of things using PMA as a guide.

First up, my job.

  1. It’s interesting. The work I do facilitates the build out of bleeding-edge telecom networks. I write manuals that engineers at Verizon, ATT, Centurylink, and other customers worldwide use. While I loved working in factories, when I did, I always wanted to do something related to technology, but I’m not an engineer. Not only do I word directly with engineers, but I also use my English degree every day.
  2. The physical environment is pretty amazing. The building in which I work was built in 1999/2000 when I was working for the company in a different location. I was able to come back years later to the “new” building, and while it’s no longer new, it’s still pretty awesome. There’s a really nice cafeteria, a huge arboretum, a gym, and a walking path around the perimeter of the property. My desk is on the North end of the 5th (top) floor, facing I-88. I can see other big businesses down this tech corridor and also watch traffic just by standing up and looking. We’re also situated across an intersection from a forest preserve. On top of all that, we’re an easy bike ride from Target, about 10 chain restaurants, a movie theater, and a brew pub. Not bad. There are two other full-on breweries less than 5 miles from here. Both are excellent.
  3. My co-workers are awesome and my boss is pretty great. Sure, we disagree on occasion. I like to charge ahead and make changes as soon as they’re available – she prefers to stick to the proven method until it’s no longer possible to sustain. She is the opposite of a micro-manager, but is still involved. Our performance reviews are usually lots of nodding. We communicate regularly and pretty openly. The other writers in the group are accomplished, nice folks, and while I don’t really hang out with them outside of work, we do pretty well as a team inside the building.
  4. I have relative autonomy. My work revolves around deadlines timed with the release of hardware/software packages. As such, there are ebbs and flows. As I mentioned earlier, my boss prefers to not meddle with things unless intervention is necessary, so when I need a day off, she presumes that I have a grasp on my work and being out won’t affect my deliverables. I don’t have to tap dance. And every year I end up with surplus vacation time.
  5. I’ll be here 10 years in June. If our new corporate HQ doesn’t shut the location down, it’ll be a pretty cool milestone to reach. I hope there’s still a service award…

All that said, I might need to make a change this year. I’m not super excited about it, but if I do, here’s what I’m excited about (PMA perspective):

  1. Shorter commute. I plan to find something closer to home.
  2. More person-to-person contact. I don’t really interact with folks at my current job in the course of a normal day. I could spend a full day at my desk with headphones on (perk!), which is not terrible most of the time, but I’m a pretty social being.
  3. Products in my wheelhouse. Regardless of where I land, I would like it to be a product that I can walk in understanding. With informational ownership, I can sell/support/develop more confidently.

That’s it. Lots of people would hate my job, but I actually like it. It’s a pretty solid match for my skills and temperament, and I think it would be interesting to do something similar at a different company. Should be an interesting year.