Emptied of expectation. Relax. (tinyjo) wrote,
Emptied of expectation. Relax.

Where do you want to go today?

I considered filtering this, on the grounds that those of you who don't do support may find it boring but I might poke some of the admins not on my friends list for perspectives, so I figure I'll just cut it. Be warned. This post is long, rambly, unfocused and contains no translation of Support terms. I would appreciate any opinions though.

So. I've been doing support for over 2 years now. In that time, I've earned Supporthelp in 5 categories and I2s in comms (I *think* all my other privs are courtesy now, although I did have I1s in the other cat's at one time). I still really enjoy working on Support and get a buzz both from solving the weird problems (I closed a couple of syn requests by poking through the code last week) and just gently poking users in the right direction to do whatever strange thing it is they want to do with their journal today. I've been feeling like I'm treading water recently though, and that's frustrating to me. I also feel like there's a plethora of areas I'd really like to commit to working on but just don't have the time for. I really need to have a think about what I want my goals in Support to be over the next period.

First, a bit of history. When I got my first privs I was so proud that someone had noticed my work. I got free I1s in Embedding and then got I2s quite soon after. The extra responsibility made it feel like *my* category and I touched nearly every request going for a while. It didn't take that long, in retrospect, for me to get awarded an Embedding supporthelp. That really sucked me in, because I got courtesy I2s in all the other categories except Comms.

I was also working a reasonable amount in G/UNK and Cust (although I never got reviewed in Cust). When Cust closed, I focused on training in G/UNK, although not to the exclusion of the other categories. While I was still at the I2 stage in G/UNK, a couple of things happened. Firstly, chemicallace stepped down as Embedding admin and asciident was appointed temporary admin in her place. I was rather more active than I am now at the time, and although I didn't discuss it with anyone, I really wanted to be offered that adminship. I did reviews in Embedding and worked on documentation projects on and off. Then after that, liliaceous became a G/UNK priv and Clients admin in quick sucession. Afterwards, she mentioned in her journal that they had waited to offer her the adminship until she got her G/UNK privs. I convinced myself that that was what they were waiting for in my case and threw myself into trying to earn my GUNK SH. I should mention that I enjoyed learning G/UNK, otherwise I wouldn't have stuck to it. The diversity appealed to me, and still does. But there was always that at the back of my mind as well.

However, when I did make it to GUNK SH, no offer was forthcoming. I was pretty disappointed by this but after a while, I figured it was pretty clear that I wouldn't get offered it. I was never entirely sure what it was that told against me, but I think (possibly because it's the easiest thing for me to believe about it) that it was mostly the limited time I would have been able to bring to the role - I was pretty low activity even in those days.*

At the same time, I was growing into my G/UNK supporthelp. I started to get more confident in approving and even took a stab at getting involved with training. I never got very confident with writing reviews though, and because of the time committment they represented, I didn't do very many. When G/UNK and Styles split, I was again *everso slightly* saddened that I hadn't been considered for adminship, even though I recognised by then that I just wasn't high enough activity or really involved or experienced enough in training. Still, once I sent in my mini-review, I got SH in Styles, which I was pretty flattered by, and, along with crschmidt (and, of course, the admins) did a lot of board work, and even a few reviews, in the early days of the category.

After that, I decided that I needed a new goal. I thought about, and have thought about since, applying to the abuse team but each time, I've rejected the idea. I could probably do it OK, but I just don't really want to. I like the idea of being "in the know" but I get the impression that Abuse too often ends in being in combat in some way, either with the requestor or someone the requestor has complained about. Instead, I decided I would try to emulate an achievement that I'd been very impressed to see xtremesaints manage earlier that year and get SupportHelp in all public categories. With that end in mind, I've earned SH in Syn and Web this year and I2s in Comms.

About the time I got my SH in web though, things stalled rather. I had been using work as a place to do quite a lot of support and my boss called me on it. Unfortuatly, I ended up feeling rather paranoid about it and am only now getting back into doing support in my lunchhour and other times when it's OK. This has rather cut down the time I've been able to give to the board, always limited anyway. This particularly applied to web and styles where you often needed to look at the users eye destroying journal to see what they're on about. While I've found comms interesting to learn I feel like I haven't had much of a chance to show my ability in it. It's a small category and I've always been really bad at leaving an answer when there's already an approvable answer (to my eyes) there. That leaves the interesting troubleshooting requests, which seems to be the side of comms I'm finding tough to crack.

The thing is, while I do really like to still be learning stuff, I'm starting to find it difficult to spread myself so thin. I have so little board time available that it's becoming hard to keep up my abilities in the categories I already have SH in and learn new things as well. It's come to a head now because the last 2 months I've had so little free time at home, what with moving house, starting Brownies, etc. I expect that once things settle down in the New Year, I'll feel less overwhelmed by it all, but it's made me feel less certain about my current goal.

When I didn't get what I immediately wanted in Embedding all that time ago, I did have a think about why I was doing support and whether it mattered. In the end, I decided that I had a few main aims.

1) To contribute. LJ Support is a great team, and I enjoyed feeling part of that. I wanted to contribute as much as possible to that team.
2) To learn. I've really enjoyed learning all the ins and outs of the system and I love to feel knowledgable about anything.
3) To help out. This sounds like a really dumb one, because it's so obvious but it's important. I like to look back on my You Replied and see all the requests where I've hopefully made someone's day a bit nicer by helping them solve a problem. From figuring out a bastard freakie (and I have a few personal faves of those) to just pointing a lost person in the right direction, it feels good.
4) To be recognised. This is possibly the least important reason, but it it important to me to be recognised for the work that I do.

The trouble is that because I've got limited time, I feel like I'm not really fulfilling these aims with my current goal. I chose to fulfill (4) through going for mort SHs, but now I'm not really sure that that's the best way of achieving the other goals. So, what would you suggest as my best way of achieving these broad goals? In particular, I'm interested in peoples views on (1) - what's the most useful place for me to focus my energies which would best contribute to the team as a whole?

* I would love to be able to discuss/ask about this, but because of confidentiality, I assume that's pretty much not possible. So I'm not fishing for info here, just trying to get a perspective on my own development.
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