Customer Support Skills Tree

A perennial topic in the customer support industry is “What does a career in support look like?” As support professionals, we want to see a path before us and want to know how to develop along that path, especially if our interest does not lie in managing people and climbing a leadership ladder.

There are many ways of looking at a support career, from traditional ladders, to support as a theme park, to a choose-your-own-adventure model as described in the recent Career in Support episode of the Support Ops podcast. These are high-level views of support as a career, and they lead to more granular questions about support careers: what are the rungs, theme park lands, and adventures available to us,? Continue reading “Customer Support Skills Tree”

What is a career?

Happiness Engineer Venn Diagram by Andrea Badgley on Butterfly Mind

Originally published on Butterfly Mind, December 2015.

As I help organize the inaugural SupConf, a conference for people who want to make a career in support, I’ve been thinking a lot about what a career looks like, and what a career is. At the company I work for, Automattic, there is no ladder to climb — we don’t have promotions, pay grades, or titles that make it obvious what career advancement looks like.

In some ways this is liberating — there are no rules, and we have the privilege and freedom to create a new model for working. We get to make it up as we go.

But in other ways the lack of structure can feel chaotic and unnerving. Titles don’t matter? Leadership roles are not promotions? How, then, do we “advance”?  Continue reading “What is a career?”