My Career Story gets interesting …
Posted by Amy Wilson on January 24, 2011
As Jason Seiden suggested long ago, I’m screwing my career path and living my story.
Today I say goodbye to TalentedApps and begin my new online life as Shiny & Useful. In parallel, I am bidding farewell to Oracle after 13 wonderful, continuously challenging years (6 at Oracle; 7at Peoplesoft) to start my own research and advisory firm Wilson Insight and to join Constellation Research, a highly esteemed group of independent analysts.
In making this decision to take a giant career leap, I asked myself a few questions. This being TalentedApps (a primary source of career advice for us all, let’s be honest), I thought you might be interested …
Am I risk averse?
The prospect of giving up a steady salary, a well-crafted organizational infrastructure, and the comfort of knowing how to do my job well may be considered “risky.” I certainly thought so! And so, my first question to myself was “am I the kind of person who takes risks?” Chris Melching, of Power Camp fame, asked me this question awhile back. I hedged, and said something about creating opportunities for myself that allowed me to choose change. I had indeed made major shifts in my career, moving product lines (Financials to HR) and moving functions (consulting to development to strategy). But the thought of striking out as an entrepreneur on my own? No … safe to say, I fell in the risk-averse category.
Is this risky?
Given my general risk aversion, I needed to determine just how risky this opportunity was. As I thought about it, I realized just how much support I had – coaches, sponsors, friends, network, family. In fact, I have huge support in taking a giant gamble – it’s sort of like playing roulette with bumpers.
All in all, not that risky – but I did need to figure out just how I felt about success and failure.
Can I imagine myself in the role?
It’s really important before you take on a new role or responsibility to imagine yourself doing the job – imagine the skills you will need, the kind of work to be done, and, of course, the feeling you’ll get from the work. There are indeed huge gaps in my vision of what this is going to look like, but generally speaking, I had enough observational and experiential data to realize what my life would look like. And, it felt good to imagine myself doing it.
Can I envision success?
Doing it is one thing, but being successful at it is another. What does success look like for me? Here, I find it important to strike a balance between specific goals and broader aspirations. It’s almost like a Chinese menu of success possibilities. I will feel successful if I accomplish a, b, and d or if I accomplish c, d, and e. The important thing is to realize what a – e are, not necessarily to get my heart set on mastering every one of them.
But as Ken mentioned, success is just one side of the coin. There is also failure.
Am I OK with failure?
If this just doesn’t work out, am I OK with that? I realized that I was. It is an experience from which I will develop, regardless. I will learn; I will grow. I will know more about myself and what I’m capable of than I did before. I will still have opportunities and possibilities. Ultimately, this answer was the most important.
Here is to failing spectacularly … or not (hopefully).