The rut seems less comfortable sometimes. At least whenever I put any thought into it. I should stop doing that.
I'm unpromotable. I am a Web Developer III, the highest existing webdev position at the company. In theory there's the Web Dev Principle, but there aren't any, and it's not likely there ever will be (I can name several people off the top of my head more qualified for the job than I, and they aren't). The only place for me to go in terms of job level is a move to management, project management, or software engineering. I don't want to be management, of any sort, and I don't want to be an SDE. I've spent a lot of time talking about the differences between webdevs and SDEs, differences in temperaments and skillsets and specializations and whatnot, and won't rehash it all here at the moment. Suffice to say, that the only places I can move to function-wise are places I won't go. So, I'm stuck a webdev3 until I quit.
I've got a printout of (a very old version of) the job responsibilities of webdevs. the level 3 has things like "Responsible for defining and developing web development platforms for the modification, design, development and debugging of web sites" and "assignments are of a highly complex nature and require advanced technical knowledge, including the development of new techniques" and "nature and influence of written code is typically used as a standard/best practice for the organization". Cool. I think I do fairly well with that, to an extent. I know that people in my teams tend to take my style commentary to heart. I know people usually listen when I say the web pages should be built like this instead of that. Wasn't as much of a thing in the old team, since for a while it was just me, and then it was Steven and I and he still took his cues from me. In the new team, there are more people writing mason, so I have more influence. Not always at the right time, mind you. ::) But, 'for the organization'? I know I influence the team. But the division? The company? Most groups decide things and move forward with them without consulting the wider set of developers. Or, in other cases, when they were consulting them I wasn't available because I was stuck head-down in some project. Grr.
Now I'm dealing with trying to migrate some files, in a package owned by another group. They only own them by default, since nobody else stepped up, BUT they still want two approvals before they'll give me permissions to commit. To files that everybody should be using and changing, in order to improve re-use of existing code.
And that's when I noticed.. About the only time I'm ever contributing, in any way, to company wide policy decisions is when I'm bitching at someone because I don't like their policy.
Last week, we were filling out a survey that the division requested Franklin Covey run for us. One of the questions had to do with whether people are living up to their potential. One of the answers, the one I chose, basically said no, because there's no reason to do so and no room to do so. It's true. I innovate more, I learn more, I break more ground when I'm working on my own projects. A web-page scraper that generates ICS calendar files. Invitotron. The Epiglyph networks management console. A dhtml card-catalog page that behaves, as much as is possible under the circumstances, like a physical card catalog would. Useless (I typo'd that as 'userless' the first time, which is also accurate), acclaimless, valueless crap that few people - in most cases no people - care about. And I'm kinda tired about spending most of my days doing things that don't matter so that I can afford to go home and hate the thought of spending more time working on things that I enjoy, but which also don't matter.
So, I dunno.
I'm happier where I am than where I was. On the other hand, I'm not sure I'm actually happy here. On the gripping hand, short of winning the lottery, I don't think there are any better options available.