Have you ever left the dishes in the sink overnight, or over the weekend (guilty!) and returned to the ripe smell of stagnant milk?  You know you have, and the lesson here is stagnation = stench.  So that comparison isn't really a definition.  Princeton's WordNet defines stagnation as "a waw state of inactivity."   Stagnation, at least in my career, has been the slippery slope towards mediocritymediocrity.  This came to mind as I read Seth Godin's post this morning.  William Arthur Ward wrote "The price of excellence is discipline.  The cost of mediocrity is disappointment."  Excellence is not perfection, it's an attitude of passion towards the task at hand. If you are stagnating in your current position, take steps to avoid the onset of mediocrity:

  • Set short-, intermediate-, and long-term goals.  Short-term goals provide immediate results, Long-term goals focus your vision.  Track your progress and adjust as necessary.  Additional skill sets may not get you a raise, and may not even be directly pertinent to your job, but more tools at your disposal (and the skill to use them) leads to better solutions.
  • Don't waste idle time, use it to become a subject matter expert.  Share responsibilities for Big-IP administration?  Become the go-to guy--hit the lab hard with solutions from the DevCentral codeshare and start contributing to the community forums.
  • Bring additional value to your organization.  Attack lingering problems that everyone complains about and solve them.  Document standard operating procedures and look for efficiencies.  Start a mentoring program.  Deliver brown bag sessions on something cool or noteworthy.

Less is more?  Not so much.