Engineering yourself out of a job

I once presented my vision for how a group could automate enough of a bunch of content publishing tasks to allow the people that created the content to take care of publishing site refreshes rather than requiring the involvement of engineering folks and doing code-and-content pushes. The person I was talking to responded, “Are you trying to engineer yourself out of a job?”

It was a startling moment because our new product development was usually gated on engineering effort — freeing up our time to focus on product development and making the content creator’s job more rewarding by allowing them to make and publish content on their own seemed like a win for everybody. Of course I wanted to engineer us out of the job of pushing content so we could focus on improving the code.

I don’t want the job if all ever will be is perfoming some task that’s better automated. I do view it as my job to automate as much as reasonable so people don’t have to do things that programs can do. A person’s time is much more valuable working on things that only people can do.