Balancing Patience with Results (an update post)

Tomorrow, I begin my first day of official employment with Opsware, Inc., a relatively small company whose focus is various solutions to the challenges of data center automation. This is a very exciting new challenge for me, personally and professionally, and I’m thrilled for the opportunity. Naturally, however, this means my focus will (probably) shift away from projects such as those that I was doing under the Maymay Media umbrella in order to devote more time to Opsware. Of course, it also means that I have officially resigned from my position at Apple Computer, Inc.

The whirlwind of events that lead to this new job have been the most compelling evidence I have ever encountered strengthening my arguments for the importance of relevancy. Throughout all my experiences, I have consistently been given sage-sounding advice: “Be patient. Put your time in now, and that will happen.” I’m sure you’ve been told the same thing countless times, in different contexts applicable to whatever situation you were in.

This statement, when taken literally, is in fact rather wise. Essentially, the advice is reminding you to choose your battles, and that’s a very smart (and mature) thing to do. However, most people hear two very distinct things when given this advice which can be paraphrased thusly:

  1. Wait.
  2. Compromise your goals.

Worse, some people actually mean these things. I will agree that the first point is indeed sage advice because it is unavoidable. I will forever continue to disagree with the second because doing so is nothing but a waste of time.

I first remember being given this advice in second grade, when I remarked that I disliked my teachers. Be patient, I was told, it would surely get better. And if it didn’t, well, next year will be different. Next year was different, but I was equally displeased with the school. Don’t worry, I was told, just put in your time at school and eventually it’ll pay off.

But that’s a lie. Putting your time into something never pays off, ever. Doing things pays off. So if you’re putting your time into something doing something you can’t see paying off, why continue to do it? That was the crux of my argument against my traditional schooling (which I eventually broke free of at 16) and was also the motivation for taking this new job opportunity.

I am notorious for being impatient. I rarely argue this fact with anyone because, by all measure, I truthfully am impatient by the standards of those who declare me to be impatient. However, all I see is a difference in priority. I am far more interested in the timeframe necessary to achieve my desired results and I am also aware of many possible paths to take to obtain said results. Many of these paths take a lot longer than others. When confronted with a choice of which path to take, I weigh my options and ask myself why I would take a longer path?

Is there some benefit to the longer path than the shorter one? Would the longer one yield a higher quality result? Is there some cost to the shorter path? Would the shorter one require too many resources, more than I can afford? Most people never get to see other people making these choices. They only see the actions one takes, and that can be misleading.

Yes, learning to take the good with the bad is an important and valuable skill. Yet I insist on reminding people that it is a fine line between that and taking the bad for the good. I would never allow myself to do that, to compromise my goals, their quality, or their timeframe, for something that just isn’t worth it. For me, one of those things that just wasn’t worth it was schooling. A more recent example of something that just wasn’t worth it was the slowness with which advancement from within Apple Computer could move my career forward and become more in line with my passions.

I’m excited, if slightly nervous, about starting with Opsware. I think (and hope) that one of the reasons I was hired was because of the very attitude I expressed during this post. If so, then I’m sure I’ll have a fantastic time and be a great asset at the same time.

Don’t expect to see too much about Opsware here. I don’t write about work-related things very often, if at all, but I sure hope that my experiences there will provide much fodder for more material in the future. And in other news, I took and passed the CompTIA Security+ certification test (the day after my Security+ prep guide came in the mail, go figure).

2 replies on “Balancing Patience with Results (an update post)”

  1. It may be a good idea to document the passing time and the new experiences… At least for the sake of history. It is possible that sometime in the future you will regret leaving time gaps in the journal… Love aba

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