1. You are mystically able to double one of the following things about your job: your salary, your vacation time, your importance to the company's success, your sense of satisfaction from the work you do, your influence over the company's decisions and policies, the quality of the work you do, or the respect/admiration of your co-workers. Which do you choose, and why? What are the close runners-up? (Bonus points for a fully ordered ranking. ;)
I'll do the ranking. :-)
1 - My vacation time. There are more places I'd like to go, more events I'd like to attend. But I only get three weeks a year, and I burn through those all too quickly. I could afford to travel a bit more, but I don't have the time off. And I'd just like to take time now and then to do things around the house, etc.
2 - My salary. I can always use more money - pay off my debts, use it on the aforementioned travel, have work done on my house, and just rebuild my savings.
3 - My sense of satisfaction. Sometimes it is hard to be motivated, especially during slack periods when we don't have the budget for major projects, etc.
4 - Respect/admiration. More respect that admiration. I don't really need to be admired, though it is always nice for the ego, but I really do want my work to be respected. I don't like being dismissed or disrespected.
5 - My influence. I'm fairly happy with that now. It is a small company, and I've been there four and a half years, which is longer than most. There are a few things I'd like to see us doing with technology, and more influence would be nice.
6 - My importance. It is nice to be valuable and contribute to the success of the organization. I think I'm relatively important now, determining the IT direction of the company.
7 - The quality of my work. Egotistical or not, I think I do good work already. So I don't feel a need to double it.
2. (Ponder this one after you're done thinking about #1) Would your answer hold true for all jobs you've had? If not, how would it have differed?
No, it would most definitely not be the same. I don't want to rank it for all the jobs I've had, but, for example, I made very good money at GTEI - but my job satisfaction was near zero. (Which is why I left.) So that would've probably been at the top of my list there. At Livingston, I was hugely satisfied (still my favorite job), and because of the work I did they let me take time off pretty much as I needed, so vacation time wasn't a big issue. But I would've liked more influence over the product direction. It would probably be different for every job I've held.
3. Five hundred years from now, only one photograph of you will survive. If you could choose what it was [but had to do so now] what would it be? (Assume you'd look good in it + such. The question is more: Where/when would it be? What would you be doing? Who else, if anyone, would be there? Would it have a caption? Would you be dressed-up or not? Etc. Effectively, "what image of yourself would you like to have preserved for posterity"?)
I would not dress up and I'd prefer it was not posed. I'd be in my black jeans and boots, and probably a polo shirt, or maybe even a T-shirt. I think something candid - hanging out with friends. Maybe a photo from Purgatory, or the sushi dinner after. A picture of me with my close friends.
4. Do you engage in conscious manipulation of your own habits / behavior patterns? If so, what approaches have you found more (and less) effective?
I have, absolutely. I'm not really up to going into the full story now, but when I went to college in 1989 I deliberately set about re-inventing myself. I was very unhappy with the person I was when I came out of high school - but because I was surrounded by people who knew me, trying to change was too hard. Whenever I started to change, people would get on me about 'not being myself'. But college was a clean break - people didn't know me, they didn't have expectations, I could be whomever I wanted to be. I sat down and wrote out a list - personality traits I wanted to rid myself of, and traits I envied and wished to embody. So I deliberately set about watching myself and trying to change my behavior consciously. One of the crutches I used was my name. That was one of the reasons I started going by MegaZone. 'Brian' (my old legal name, for whose who don't know) was my old personality, and MegaZone was my new one. I used it as a mental crutch to help keep the behaviors separated. For a few years I was a little harsh about asking people to call me MegaZone, but over time, as I became comfortable with my new behaviors, the crutch was no longer necessary. And eventually I didn't really care about the name, but I still preferred MegaZone, and it was a 'brand' for my work history, so I eventually made it legal. But people, especially relatives, still call me Brian - but I don't really care about it now at all.
And yeah, that's the short version of the story. :-)
5. Is there anything that you'd love to do, and are planning on doing someday, but have been putting off for many years? If so, what's been causing you to put it off?
Many things. I'd like to travel more, there are many places I'd like to visit in the US and around the world. For the most part, it is time - I don't have the vacation time to burn. The secondary reason is money - I can afford some travel, but I'm still in debt and will be for a few more years (I'm not counting my mortgage, that's another level entirely), so I can't afford to do a lot of traveling yet. I'd like to fly again. For those who don't know, I have a private pilot's license, but I last flew back around 1990. I stopped flying in college because I couldn't afford it. Even back then, it was around $70/hour for an aircraft rental. As a college student that was enough to eat for weeks. After I graduated it was a combination of time and money. Eventually I could've afforded it, but it takes time. I'd have to go through training again, and then fly regularly to maintain currency, and I don't really have a reason to do it other than it is fun. I haven't been able to justify the cost and commitment to myself.