Priorities, Values, and Goals in my Professional Career
In this document I try to summarize the most important values and principles
in my professional career. I hope this will not only help me to prioritize
different projects and decisions, but that this will give others the chance
to have an inside view into my motivations.
There is no doubt tha the involvement in activities and jobs related to
Digital Audio Signal Processing is most important to me. My whole
life has been centered around music. Starting with studying classical piano
for 10 years, trombone for 6 years, playing in bands, building a (home) recoding
studio, learning jazz piano, to focusing on speech and audio signal processing
in college and now at work: Music is an important and enlightening part of
I consider myself very lucky since I never had to work in an environment,
where the relationship among coworkers is only professional or where this
relationship is based on very unpersonal, purely business related interaction.
When talking to other friends that do not have this privelege I realize, that
my coworkers are the second most important aspect for me. I want to
work in an environment, where people are looking forward to the daily common
lunch and where one will see familiar faces from work at parties on weekends
or during spontaneous activities on a weeknight.
Continuing education and professional development are often seen as a required
but "painful" activity, however, this is different for me. Maybe because
I am a young professional. I am eager to learn and explore more areas and
improve weaknesses. My employer should give me opportunities for professional
development. This can happen in many ways, such as visiting conferences,
writing papers, membership and participation in professional organizations,
reading books, receiving or having access to mentoring and coaching resources,
or receiving detailed feedback on work performance and related skills (incl.
communication and "people" skills).
I recently began appreciating the next priority, the potential for long
term, teambased projects or organizations. There is a lot of effort involved
in setting up effective team structures, getting to know the different personalities
and establishing a workflow that is tailored to that environment. I also consider
a teamoriented approach the most effective and most fun way of working together
with other engineers and researchers. Having enough time to create and work
in these teams gives me great satisfaction. With that comes an interest in
the emerging set of groupware applications and effective use of intranets
for collaboration. Short term projects (<= 6 months) or one-guy-does-it-all
type activities are less interesting to me.
As I am driven by the desire, to always perform as effectivly as possible,
it is important to me to work in an organization that values an open and
supportive infrastructure (including IT resources and networks, clear
and supportive management, supportive legal department, etc.). It is extremely
unsatisfactory to repeat the same work over and over again (rather than automate
such a task). I also prefer to choose the right tools to get a job done (rather
than having the tools dictating the work). Considering the long hours I spend
using computer technology, I am eager to create an environment that allows
me to be as flexible and productiv as possible.
A very frustrating experience is the confrontation with decisions, in which
I do not know (and understand) the rational behind. This is specifically
true for situations, in which my own work or life is affected by such a decision.
I am also interested in the decision making process and (software) tools
that support it. Therefore, I value an inside view and involvement into
decision making in a company or organization.
I am also concerned with the type of products I am working on. I clearly
favor a strive for excellence. These are usually non-mass products
where the emphasise is on high quality rather than costeffective production.
I don't have such a strong desire that I could not work for a mass-product
company (obviously), but I would certainly be in a wrong position if my job
would only be to design cost reduced equipment. In "my other life" (= in my
private life) I also do not use little gadgets, electronic toys, or play
video games. My motiviation at work is clearly driven by my interest in Audio
Signal Processing, the possibilities to record, playback, analyze, modify
and synthesize speech and sound. I strongly exclude military work from my
field of interest.
While preparing and ranking this list of priorities, I was surprised to
end up with the following value as the least important one: A flexible
work environment. Flexible hours, possibility of telecommuting once in
a while, leasure dress code, reading room ... These are all factors that
will make working more fun.