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How do you know that you are doing your job well? I’m looking for specific examples.
Interesting. I’ve been in a series of jobs and/or avocations where it is very hard to know, because there haven’t been straightforward quantitative metrics. A lot of what I’ve been doing has been government sponsored culture change (promoting IT interoperability), and that is slow.
- Writing policy papers: well, I dunno, I write the papers, the papers get drafted and redrafted, the papers go out. The board and the stakeholders say OK, but policy is normally a marathon; change is incremental, and there’s always another government department and another vendor to try to get on board.
- Writing IT standards: if you don’t get many requests to update the model, you may have done your job right in anticipating the requirements. Or then again, you may not have promoted the standard to the people that would stretch it into new domains. Getting a request for update is also a success, it means they’re paying attention.
- Promoting IT standards: less pilot projects. Thank god. The concept, it is proven, we don’t need to prove it any more. At least not with those clients.
- Writing software. The client tells you that it does what they want. I’m starting to get that freelancing. It’s hard to get in pilot infrastructure programming (e.g. messaging systems), because it’s pilot, and it’s infrastructure (not visible), though we’ve got ourselves a good instant-validation niche. It was hard to get in an unmentionable past job where the boss kept me completely barricaded off from all users, so I made up my own metrics. And was pretty happy with them.
- Scholarly papers. If you get feedback, at least they’re paying attention. If you get recognised in conferences, you just hope it’s because it was a good bunch of papers, and not because you were a fun drinking buddy last conference.
- Lecturing. Anonymous quantitative student evaluations can kiss my hairy arse: I filled those in as a student, and I remember giving the lecturer a 4 out of 5 so they wouldn’t get too uppity. What mattered to me as a lecturer was the qualitatives. One student saying “never allow Dr Nicholas to take a course again”, and three or four saying I was the best lecturer they had in their undergraduate career. University administration had no time for someone polarising like me. And screw them too.
The kids that said that? They got it. And by that, and by polarising them, I knew I was doing something right.