What Would You Say You Do Here?
Posted by mattray on May 25, 2008
I get asked that question fairly frequently, not by people who know Open Source software, but by people outside my realm of employment. “Community Manager for an Open Source systems management company” has gotten more than a few quizzical looks as they slowly back away. I tell people I encourage people to use our software, even if they don’t pay for it, which just creates more questions.
I’ve been at my new job for nearly 2 months and I’m just starting to feel like I’m getting my head around everything. As the Community Manager, my job is a weird hybrid between customer support, development and guerilla marketing. On any given day I can plan on working on something like reviewing documentation and assisting a community member with their ZenPack (a Zenoss extension); and end the day with a blog post, a dozen emails and several discussions about supporting another Open Source project. Some days I miss diving into a code-cocoon where the whole day disappears into a blur of writing software.
Keeping up with everything can be hard, I’ve recently started using the Getting Things Done methodology (a blog post about that soon) and I’ve found it really helps. The hardest thing is that I rarely feel I can focus on something for several days, I have too many spinning plates and have a hard time tuning everything else out. Hopefully with better prioritization and GTD I can fix that. I could also spend as much or as little time on any subject I come across. I could spend all day on IRC helping users, read documentation until I figure everything out, or learn Python as well as I’d like. But there is almost always something of higher priority bumping my schedule, so I’m keeping much busier than any of my last few jobs kept me.
This isn’t to complain though, I actually enjoy my job quite a bit. There’s constant variety so I’m never bored and I enjoy engaging most of the people I come across. Zenoss has a very passionate user-base, which is one of the things I’d noticed when I was evaluating the company. This makes my job a little easier, it feels good to work on a project that you feel proud about, as opposed to some random software that someone, somewhere is using (quite possibly not by choice). I really wanted to work for an Open Source company, or at least be in a position where I could contribute substantially to one, so I guess I’m doing pretty good.
So there you have it, hopefully the Bobs are satisfied.