How to stay motivated when you don't like the products you're testing?

Hi everyone,

I work in a very great team which are aware about testing and everyone is great to work with. I have a problem though. I work in a Pharmaceutical company and this is really not a domain I have interests in.

At the beginning, I had to learn everything from the technical environment and all the products and functionnalities, and as I was new to the team and the role, it was challenging. But now, after 2 years, I get bored to talk about drugs and laws about them all day long. I have difficulties to show interests in what we do and to be more implicated.

I started to ask myself if it was that I didn’t enjoy to test anymore or is it just because I don’t have interest in the pharmaceutical world.

So I wonder if anyone had have the same feeling ? Do you already have to work in a domain you didn’t like ? What did you do ?

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I had similar feelings before, was working in a place where I got on with everybody, but the industry I was working in (off shore bonds) was a little dull to say the least. It wasn’t that I didn’t particularly didn’t like it, just that with most financial testing, it can be very dull, complex and repetitive.

I tired to get around it by moving to different teams within the company, taking on different roles and responsibilities, different projects and the like. However, that didn’t work, was still feeling disillusioned.

So I tool the ultimate step and took a new job. Which I thought would be a lot better. Unfortunately, the new role was 100 times worse then where I was. Company was terrible, no idea of QA and myself and my team were treated terribly by management.

In hindsight, I should have talked more to my management in my previous company, seeing if there was anything they could have done to make the job more interesting. I think after that if there was nothing, I would have left.

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Hi Stephanie,
I’ve worked in the pharmaceutical industry for around 16 years. Mostly testing different apps that doctors or patients used.
Not every app I tested was interesting, but to be honest I didn’t get much motivation from testing the apps themselves, I was more motivated on how I performed as a tester and as a team member.

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Hi !

Thanks for your answers, it motivates me to do with what I have and looking for a way to improve myself as a tester and not focus on the product itself.

I read your answers in the Zombie testers thread Andy, and it motivates me for that. I think that my team is a very good team and that I can learn a lot from them. My plan for now is to learn as much as I can here and decide later if I leave or not and what I’ll do next.

I start a discussion with our lead dev to see what we can do as a team to move things up and we agreed to plan a monthly meeting to discuss only about our tests strategies. It’s a great beginning !

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Hi Stephanie,

Yes, tough situation. I’ve been lucky enough to work on Educational and Medical software which had a real sense of purpose, I was working on SW which I knew made a difference and this was motivating.

If you don’t find the software that interesting then there are a few ways to look for motivation:

  • Lean and execute a different type of testing
  • Try a different role within the organisation (i.e. see if you miss testing or find a new role more exciting)
  • Review what excites/motivates you and see if there are opportunities to do more of that (e.g. did you used to do more ET but now are doing more scripted?)

When you start to lose motivation it can be hard to regain it within an organisation, that’s just my experience. Of course, nobody has a crystal ball so it’s hard to know if a move to a new organisation would be the right move.

Just don’t leave it so long that you stagnate. Discuss with your manager and if options are limited it might be time to move on.

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This is very true for me. Unless I’m able to dramatically change how I test, or what I’m testing, I tend to only truly find my motivation again at a new company.

I agree though that always talk to your manager first. You need to make it clear that you’re less engaged than you used to, and discuss what could potentially spice things up a bit. Just be careful not to sound like you’re giving them an ultimatum.

Depending on your manager you’ll likely either get them enthusiastically trying to find options to keep you there, or they’ll brush it off. If it’s the latter then you’re probably better off elsewhere anyway. Any manager worth their salt will do what they can to keep their team motivated and engaged.

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Hi Stephanie,

I’m a little late to this post. Did you figure out if it’s testing or the pharmaceutical industry that you’ve lost interest in?

LIke others have suggested, I’d definitely recommend speaking to your manager or team leader about how you feel before you make any drastic changes. Having said that, I’m a big fan of taking calculated risks in order to do what’s best for you, so don’t be afraid to look elsewhere if that’s what’s needed.

Assuming it’s just the type of software that’s putting you off, I’d recommend trying to reframe things in your mind. Instead of focussing on the features of the software and the specific tasks you do, think about the impact it’s having, and what might happen if you weren’t there to identify different risks and issues. Could it risk someone’s life or health? Could you save the company from a potential disaster?

Hopefully, this will also help you to recognise the value you add to the business, and motivate you to continue making an impact. Although it’s important to be interested in what you do, what you do isn’t necessarily dependent on the software itself. You are in control of more than you might think!

I hope that helps :slight_smile:

Cassandra

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