Finding My Passion

I have too many hobbies.

Actually, to call them hobbies is probably going too far, because that would imply that I spend a bunch of time on things, which isn’t really true.

I have too many interests.

I’m re-teaching myself the piano, I like photography, I love to read, I write, I quite like movies, I write software, and I love computer games. I snowboard. I ride bicycles. And I have a job and a family, including a young son. I have precious little free time to spend on any of these interests, so they’re not fully developed into hobbies per se.

I have all of these interests/hobbies because I’ve never managed to settle on just one, or three, to really concentrate on. I envy those people who devote all their free time to crafting, or constructing 75 dpi printers out of Lego.

But for a while now, a fixation has been developing. It’s something I’ve been dealing with for, oh, 20 years. Year by year, a little voice inside me has been growing louder and louder. I’ve tried ignoring it, placating it, and actively suppressing it.

But in the past year I’ve finally come to accept that it must be my passion because it just won’t go away.

Management Sucks

Management sucks. Yeah, huge surprise there, right?

But I care! I hate bad management. I hate it with the fiery passion of thousand suns.

I hate it so much it gives me energy.

I wish I didn’t. I’d much rather be fascinated with something cool, like painting, or music, or micro-biology.

But no. The thing I happen to be passionate about is management and how crap it is.

Fixing It

Bad management is a growth industry. It’s probably second only to mortuaries. Every company of any size has at least one manager, and based on 20 years experience and 100+ years of history, 90% of them will be crap. More companies, and bigger companies, equals more bad management.

And if anything, IT managers are the worst.

IT is also a huge growth industry. Find a company with no IT. There must be, what, four left?

Management, and increasingly IT management, touches almost every aspect of our lives. And it’s so bad! The cumulative impact of all this incredibly poor management is immense!

It’s so common that people make a living making jokes about it!

I’m an engineer at heart. I started, and didn’t quite finish, an undergraduate Computer Engineering degree. I like to measure things, and build things, and put knowledge into practice. Pure research is fun, but I’m happiest when I can do something with it.

I like fixing things. When I see something broken, I immediately start thinking about how to make it less broken.

I’ve been trying to do this for years, with varying levels of success, but it’s gotten to the point that I’ve realised I just don’t have the right tools for the size of the job at hand. I need a sharper saw, a better hammer, finer-grade sand-paper.

So I’ve bitten the bullet, and I’m going to business school.

Business School

Bring on the jokes about useless 20-something MBAs. At least I’m old enough that a) it doesn’t apply, and b) I don’t care.

I’ve realised that if I’m going to make real progress in fixing this oh-my-god so so bad problem, I need to have the right tools at my disposal, and the right access to the right people to help me.

I’ve picked a good school. This won’t be some third-rate, churn them out and rake in the cash, College of Bumfuck, Idaho MBA. I expect to have to work harder than I have in years. I expect to be outshone by people who are, hopefully, at least an order of magnitude smarter than I am.

It’ll be fun, because, lord-help-me, I actually enjoy this stuff.

I’ve realised that, much though I wish it were otherwise, better management is what I’m most passionate about.

I can’t not do this.

I just hope it works out ok.

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  1. If you haven’t read it already, you may find “Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School” (Released In Australia as “What They Teach You at Harvard Business School: My Two Years Inside the Cauldron of Capitalism”) by Philip Delves Broughton interesting.

  2. Thanks, Shane!

    No, I haven’t read it. I’ll check it out.

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