Jeff Ruane

How I Do Good Work

Job hunting has given me plenty of time to think about what I want in a job. As much as I'm tempted to joke about this and say, "money and plentiful ping-pong tables," taking this exercise seriously seems worthwhile.

I've been reflecting on patterns in team, system, and organizational structure work that I'm productive in, which brings me high satisfaction. These patterns have changed as I've grown in seniority and responsibility, but the fundamental pillars have remained relatively consistent.


This concerns the people I work closest with on a day-to-day basis. Typically, these are a group of engineers who work under a single manager and perform various agile ceremonies together.

Whether the team is small or medium-sized, the size matters less than whether I collaborate closely with them. The cohesion of the team's goal is essential to me. The nature of software teams means this is only sometimes possible, but I'm at my best when it is. Clearly defined responsibilities when implementing technical projects are critical. As I've grown in my career, I've realized I have an obligation if a project manager or engineering manager hasn't delineated it.


This concerns the technical work that an engineer would be engaged in regularly.


This concerns organizational culture beyond engineering-specific concerns.


What about myself? Presumably, I have some influence over how productive and satisfied I am at a job, right?

What does this all mean?

This should be shorter and narrower. Going through a 14-point list of things I need to be successful with a potential employer could possibly come off as slightly needy. My goal is to nail this down to something more digestible. Regardless, writing helps me think, so it's a start.

Thanks for reading. Love you all.

❤️ Go Nuggets.

#mental health #work