Who Am I and Why Am I in this Office Park?

I didn’t grow up dreaming of being a support team manager. I was going to be a marine, a veterinarian, and President, just like everybody else. If I won enough money in the lottery tomorrow to set up myself up for life, I’d eventually leave my current job so I could have more flexibility for my family and would do volunteer work for urban farms. Most weekdays, however, I get up before 6am, put on some NPR podcasts, and car commute to an office park outside of Boston to work with a team of people who job it is to explain software. How the heck did this happen?

First off, let’s cover the obvious but often unmentioned part — I like getting paid. If I won the lottery, I probably wouldn’t stay in technical support forever, not because I don’t love it, but because I love so many other things as well. I wouldn’t leave immediately though, because I actually love what I do and the people I do it with, and I wouldn’t want to leave until I could hand off my role, cleanly, to someone who could do it even better.

What I do, fundamentally, is help people figure things out. Every part of that phrase is important — I get to help, I get to help people, and I get to figure things out. I’m a geek and a people-lover who gets to spend her days puzzle-solving and empathizing—perfect. Even better, I work for a company that makes software that actually helps people, and I get to help our customers make that software, which is actually pretty cool, work for them.

The next layer — and now we’re getting super-meta — is that I also get to help other people do all that. I get to manage a team of empathetic puzzle-solvers and make their jobs the best they can be. I get to strategize how to make our team work as best it can, both for the people on it and for the people we serve. I get to strategize how to make my company’s products better for its customers. I get to make things better.

I wake up all those weekday mornings and head off to a job that uses both my brain and my heart, and I do it with other people who are doing the same. That’s worth driving to an office park for. I am super grateful. (And, honestly, our office park is pretty nice and I kinda like those NPR podcasts.)

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This piece was inspired by the Support Driven Writing Challenge — first topic, Motivation. Support Driven is chock-full of geeks and people-lovers who also help each other stay sane and do our best work. Thanks, all.