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What I want

I was trolling Hotjobs, as I’m prone to do, and I came across this entry:

Assistant Manager Vision Care Holdings, LLC Martinez, GA

You can’t imagine how fast I clicked. Here’s why, I think.

Assistant Manager: I would be in charge of stuff.

Martinez, GA: I live right near there! I can get there by walking ten feet that way!

Vision Care Holdings, LLC: This sounded unique. Like some great vision for the future. I wanted to know what kind of vision it was, and how this “Assistant Manager” would be a part of it.

Those of you with common sense will probably have guessed that it was not, in fact, an exciting, paradigm-shifting thought-position…that it was, obvious by the name, a retail prescription glasses store.

Eyeglass World, to be exact.

The sheer disappointment I felt–“Gah, retail“–really made me pause. What sort of job did I think it was going to be? Why did I assume it would be something other than hawking products? What do I want, what am I looking for, that makes me see groundbreaking, experimental management positions where none exist?

I want to be part of something–I want to be in charge of something–that is unique, exciting, dangerous, big, important, and highly rewarding. I want to be an idea person who actually gets things done. I want to be flexible, a troubleshooter, constantly growing and adapting. I want to face new challenges, to create challenges for myself that lead to the development of better things.

I was reading about Google’s new Suggest feature (in beta) at the Google blog the other day. It reminded me of how I felt when I first looked at Google’s employment page, and how I felt when I recently applied to a local company that seems more Silicon Valley than CSRA. Like I was on the verge of something cool, but I couldn’t quite get there.

I mean, listen to this:

The project stemmed from an idea I had a few months ago, and since then I’ve been working on it in my 20% time, which is a program where Google allows their employees to devote 20% of their working hours to any project they choose. What’s really amazed me about this project is how in a matter of months, working on my own, I was able to go from a lunch table conversation to launching a new service. In my opinion, this is one of the things that really makes Google a great place; that the company’s systems, resources and, most important, people are all aligned to make it as easy as possible to take an idea and turn it into something cool.

That is the kind of thing I want to be doing–not necessarily as an employee, though that seems to be the only road for me right now, but just in general. I want to be doing cool things that change how other things work. I want to mess with stuff and make it better.

I’m not a programmer, though. I studied programming some in high school and college, but I’m not gifted at it, and I don’t even particularly like it. It’s a means to an end for me.

What I want is to be able to revolutionize within the fields I am interested in.

That, I think, is why I feel so lost when I try to figure out what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. I have no idea where to even begin.