T-Minus Three: Thoughts on Job Transition, Part 3


Only three days remain in this position. It is odd to look around at my work space and realize that I have been steadily stripping it of my personality. What was once very much My Work Space is now just a work space. There are still a few knickknacks that have not been trundled off to my car and thence home, but not many.

This job has afforded me the opportunity to learn. Not just how to do this job, but to learn many things in pursuit of doing this job better.

When I was hired, the company still using old MS Word forms. They were archaic and clunky, but they got the job done. One perceptive colleague went to our supervisor and informed her that I needed more work — my colleague was correct, I was growing bored and delving into the depths of our ERP system in search of information that might point me at my next task. My supervisor asked me to research PDF forms and dropped a pair of books and an instructional DVD on my desk. Not long after, I had learned the basics of PDF form building. This was only the beginning of a deep rabbit hole. That level of PDF knowledge allowed people to ask about a deeper level of knowledge, and Acrobat forms gave way to LiveCycle forms.

Now that my department was making inroads to PDF forms, my supervisor asked me to research whether or not those forms could be integrated with the ERP so that data entry could be minimized. That was yet another rabbit hole that would continue deeper for years to come. And I reveled in the new learning. I learned bits and pieces of the API that allowed integration of the forms with the ERP system — not enough to be useful, just enough to be dangerous and curious about how I might get to usefulness.

This integration opened a new door and a later supervisor asked about integrating PDF forms with our FRACAS system. This led down the path of XML and schema and XSLT. I am far from proficient in any of these, but I learned enough to solve some riddles and navigate some data labyrinths. It was thrilling and challenging and I basked in the ability to research and learn and experiment and to do so in service of my employer.

Several years of this made me the closest thing to a resident expert we had on these topics. I knew enough to be able to state whether or not something was plausible and then be turned loose to find the full answer. All the while, I was allowed to learn and grow and become whatever was needed at the time. In five-plus years, I have learned a great deal and have been privileged to be able to do so in service of my employer, turning what I learned into something useful and profitable for the organization.

They let me learn and grow and become. While it was largely self-serving, it is still something I appreciate.


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