Some thoughts about work-related stuff.
1. What specific expertise do I have? What am I really good at? What do I do so effortlessly that I don’t even realize it’s a *big deal*?
I’m extremely good at getting important information out of computer systems. Often, I can do in a few seconds what 99% of people can’t do at all. Examples: Finding documents and data in corporate systems and my own files and e-mail, finding important data in web searches (and web scraping), manipulating and analyzing data in Excel sheets, and finding and curating the most clarifying information for extremely complex problems (books, summaries, Sharepoint presentations, articles, forum postings, infographics).
I’m extremely good at understanding what drives people, how they see themselves, how they want to be seen by others, what value propositions drive their working behavior, and what they and I and others understand in common and understand separately. However, this is a System 3 talent (System 2 rationalization of aesthetic counterfactuals from introverted intuition) and only works when I’m in endogenous, intrinsically motivated, ADHD-I mode or otherwise in a very high-energy state. (I.e. It can’t be monetized reliably.)
I’m extremely good at understanding complex systems and processes and explaining them in engaging and accessible ways. However, this is a long-wave System 2 talent, not a short-wave System 1 talent (i.e. can’t be monetized hour-to-hour, would have to be week-to-week).
I’m quickly becoming excellent at estimating but unfortunately this is a skill that relies heavily on industry knowledge for application and it’s very rare for me to be interested in the sorts of things people pay for.
2. When I worked inside a company what problems did I solve for my employer? What were the business ramifications of these problems?
I assembled a library of material to fill in massive educational gaps for understanding an extremely complex business environment that management foolishly considered so primitivistically simple it wouldn’t even require conscious thought. The business ramification of that problem was turnover, where I’d estimate solving that problem would reduce turnover from 25% per year to 10% per year.
I found ways to turn computer systems implemented for extensive, intrusive employee surveillance that were destroying productivity into useful research tools for the employees to use themselves to do their jobs better. The business ramification of that problem was also turnover, where I’d estimate solving that problem would reduce turnover from 25% per year to 20% per year.
I helped several coworkers with their computer work, ranging from the extremely tedious (which allow me to enjoy audiobooks and podcasts) to the extremely complicated (a few of my solutions were downright ingenius under the hood) to work merely requiring computer fluency and an organized workflow to complete them in a practical timeframe. Probably my biggest accomplishments here were 1) to enable support (our competitive edge) and therefore retain business at two large existing customers and 2) to enable the completion of a global contract at another large customer. The former work was probably worth about 10 million dollars’ worth of revenue (approximately $1.6 million profit) and the latter work was probably worth about 200 million dollars’ worth of revenue ($32 million profit).
I discovered a few technical issues at end users and responded quickly to them, which helped our brand loyalty among them by about 5% (where total opinion is the sum of personnel times each individual’s influence). Since the opinions of end users have about a 20% influence on buying decisions (where corporate’s opinion has risen to 40% influence and builders’ opinions have remained at 30%, 10% other), and that continued business stream is worth about $10 million per year in revenue ($1.6 million per year in profit), this work was worth approximately 0.05 * 0.20 * $10 million per year = $100k per year revenue ($16k profit).
Since only the latter category was a KPI for my job, and the profit was well under the total cost of keeping me on (approximately $200k/yr with all benefits and admin), they’ve basically been threatening to fire me once per month for the last two years. But when I tried to quit, they talked me into staying on. KPIs can be funny that way. There’s value and there’s metrics, and people who are full of shit (this tracks with narcissism, which my new estimating powers say means everyone) sometimes have trouble telling the difference.
3. How would I describe the demographics, psychographics, and enabling conditions of the last organization in which I made an impact?
I’ll restrict this mostly to the people I actually made an impact with, since my work and I tend to be polarizing.
Demographics: Old, white, male, IQs averaging 120 with analytical tilt (125 analytical, 120 visual, 115 verbal), high extraversion, moderately high disagreeableness and conscientiousness, average openness, moderately low neuroticism.
Psychographics: History of maverick gitterdun culture hanging on by a thread in the face of corporate overreach, power consolidation, and outright flexing. This was probably a unique moment in time where the company had already succeeded enough to afford a support role and was not yet too degenerated in this traditionally maverick area to pay for one, even if the job wasn’t technically in the budget.
Enabling conditions: The aging workforce created a huge demand for my computer skills. Turnover was a huge issue, and if there hadn’t been a problem, the solutions wouldn’t have been necessary. The overwhelming emphasis on increasing headcount at all costs probably saved my job a thousand times over. The strategic imperative to prefer new business over old business really stretched the limits of my research skills.
Basically in a sane universe I would have been a researcher in every possible timeline. But what business has taught me is that nobody wants realistic answers unless they’re personally hurting and people who are personally hurting tend to have no purchasing power. What people will pay for, AFAICT, is to increase the insulation between their niche in the social pyramid and the world’s problems, or to break down someone else’s insulation in the hopes of eliminating a reproductive competitor. To wit, the money is in escapism and anarchotyranny (and the combination: scapegoating). Apparently, narcissists see reality as a gaping maw whose only utility is throwing other people into it. This is probably why I get so irritated at people who think truth is a one-edged sword, when Ephesians says the sword is “the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Truth was the belt (which is extremely funny in retrospect, having gotten a few tastes of reality in the past), and the Spirit is a double-edged sword, not a single-edged (Hebrews 4:12).