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I would look at three things.

- Do you have autonomy in your job ? You need to be able to do your job without having to ask for permission every five minutes. You should also have some freedom on how to do it.

- Do you feel you are getting better at your job ? Every day you need to have the feeling that you are becoming better at it. Is your job hard enough but not too hard. Too many unknowns may cause frustration. Too few unknowns make the jobs too easy and boring.

- Purpose - Do you feel that everyday you are making a difference? You need to feel that you are making somebody's life better.

ahh. 2 and 3 are killers. i need to go meditate on this.

to be fair tho, i don't expect most tech jobs to actually have a strong sense of purpose. it's that old SV trope of "we're making the world a better place through minimal message-oriented transport layers".

#2 is a great question. its kind of like looking at the job through game design. its true i dont feel like i'm becoming better and i dont see a clear path to becoming better. I will probably actually use this line of thinking to have a convo with my manager.

I'm not a manager, but I think I might have been where you are now a year ago. My agency and I ended up separating. At the time I felt a tremendous sense of relief, but now, I feel mostly regret because of the potential of that job and how ideal it had been in the first 2-3 years. I miss everyone terribly and wish I could magically go back to the good times because they were truly wonderful, like something out of a dream.

If I could do it all over again, I'd completely omit the technical from my decision making. Odds are that you're probably doing just fine and suffering from something like imposter syndrome. In my case, my billable hours had started to fall, which is the one thing that can't slide for long. I was having doubts about my project and my contribution to it, for personal reasons stemming from my financial troubles after the housing bubble popped. I should have asked for a sabbatical.

Maybe you can step back for a moment and imagine that if the technical needs of the project are being met, what is your vision for the future of the company and the prospects of the other employees? Have some of them been snatched up by Fortune 500 companies? Will some of them benefit greatly by having your company on their resume? Have some of them been able to grow as individuals, perhaps continuing their education or even finding happiness and love? If you feel a resonance with those types of things, you might be surprised to find an interest for it reflected in your own bosses. Maybe they are focused on making payroll and haven't had the support they need to consider those other things. If you have an HR person, maybe you can sway the conversation in those directions. If not, maybe you can talk management stuff long enough that people start to want you in that role. Please don't underestimate vision like I did.

thanks :) i definitely do have a bit of imposter syndrome, although i guess i actively seek it out. "if you're not the dumbest person in the room you may be in the wrong room" and all that.

i have rarely had a helpful convo with an HR person though. always hear the warnings at the back of my head that they're not on my side, they're on the company's side.

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