How many of you have gotten up before dawn, driven to the coast, gotten on a long piece of fiberglass and paddled into the ocean before turning around to ride back to shore? It’s a great way to start your day, and I’ve been lucky enough to do this many times in my life. I look forward to getting back out there someday in the future.
Surfing is an interesting sport, because you don’t really get to pick your path. You catch a wave, and begin riding it in, altering your course based on the speed of the water, the height and structure of the wave, and even the way the current is flowing. While you move in the direction you want, your choices are limited.
This is unlike many other moving sports. While snowboarding you can stop or slow down. In many wheeled activities you can go in almost any direction. Much of the time you have more control over your motion, and can even take a break.
However waves are unique. They’re few and far between. If you want to slow down, you end up really abandoning that journey, one you’ll never get again. If you paddle back, you’re hoping you’ll get the chance for another fun ride that day. That isn’t always the case.
I saw someone post a note that working in technology is like surfing waves. As we learn and grow, we often feel that we can’t slow down, or change directions very much. If we’re a SQL Server DBA, we’re riding that wave. Trying to slow our career, or move to another technology means (often) abandoning some of what has worked well for us. We really follow the wave we’ve chosen as often as possible, usually resistant to change.
You can change, however, and if you want to do so, make some plans and look for a new wave. It will take time; it will require some investment, but it’s possible. Always remember life is short, and we want to work in order to enjoy our lives with friends and family. We don’t want to get stuck working in ways that prevent us from enjoying our lives.