A recruiter reached out to me the other day. Like most of them he’d spotted an aging resume online somewhere and decided I was a fit for any number of jobs he had listed, so he gave me a call. In reviewing what he had, what I do, and where I want to be, it turned out he did have something of interest. A global consulting firm had locally opened a dedicated product lab in town, and they were looking to hire someone. The pay range they listed was good, had decent benefits, etc. And it’d be a nice change of pace, more fully into one dedicated job.

I told him today I was interested and asked to get the ball rolling.

I’ve been with my current company for nearly a decade, and although I’ve kept my resume out now and then, I’ve rarely landed an interview, so my skills there would be rusty. Throughout the day I’ve been working in my head on some of the anticipated questions. One of the common ones to anticipate here is “Why are you looking for a new position?”

And… I guess that’s caused me to confront it. Yes, my boss is a useless cock. Yes, my IT organization would be a sinking ship if it wasn’t grounded on the immovable rock of non-revenue parent-company-land. But really, are those it?

I mentioned I’ve worked here for nearly a decade, and honestly, probably 75% of my coworkers have been there the whole time. We’re quite used to one another. We’re used to our systems, we’re used to the challenges we face and the inability to overcome them. And when a problem comes up, we band together to… complain about it and waffle on the issue and eventually fall back to our old technical-debt style of management. We’re all complacent. We’re too used to it.

There’s a major project in progress here, it’s a real opportunity to do something invigorating. We can strip out so much of our old garbage processes and solve some issues, set the bar high for a new generation. But I’m the only one that feels this way, and I only feel it a little. When I go to my peers to talk about what we can do here, I’m met with complaints of how hard it will be. How they won’t have time because of another project. That they don’t trust that such-and-such will do a decent job.

I don’t think the people here don’t want to be challenged. I think we’ve simply reached a point where banging our heads against an ineffective wall of middle management has so muted our interest in achieving a damn thing that we might as well just outsource it all and stop caring.

And I don’t want to stop caring. I’ve often found I’m at my best when there’s a problem to be solved. You should ask my wife how animated I got when we had a deep HVAC issue to solve the other day: couldn’t stop troubleshooting until I figured it out and fixed it. Felt more alive doing than I have with any project lately.

So I want a change of scene. I want to challenge myself not so much with harder projects, but with suffering a jagged shift out of complacency. I want an environment where people have a spark of life.

I’ll probably not get the job. But perhaps this is the first time I’ve really faced what I’m suffering here.