Most of us spend the majority of our life working. In part, the goal of work, is to create a life worth living. Once established the focus tends to shift to the journey of fulfilling work. Some people are lucky because of family, upbringing, education, timing or luck to minimize and sometimes skip the step of knowing your economical minimums. Regardless, one of life’s great struggles is in spending what little life you have doing something you believe is worth your while. No matter any advantage, fulfillment is personal; defined from within; evaluated by the most important judge, the individual. Work makes the person as much the person makes the work and when out of balance it is time for a change.
An important part of work is the environment and context within which we work – the canvas on which to paint. This includes the place, the organizational climate, your leadership and your peers. Any of those things might compensate for the other, but ultimately if your job has become a job, pension, paycheck, bonus or stock, the only evaluation one can make is to seek a more fulfilling existence as life is too short and striving for brilliance is too hard to do in vain.
It gets hard to leave a canvas you have grown so comfortable with. You know exactly where the threads are beginning to fray and remember how great the experience has been. There is a mastery in knowing the institution, business, people and of course hopefully in knowing something about anything that makes you great regardless of the context. Really successful people are successful at whatever they do – as much as work may make the person – the cycle starts with the person doing the work. The person is great no matter the place. Certainly the place might not be a match, but there is no reason if everyone is looking for success that it be anything less than continued goodness. I believe all of this, but have existed professionally in one company, so maybe for these reasons and untold others, it was time for me to put up or shut up.
In September I found an opportunity to do more great things, where the excitement, risk, hope and openness looked like every awesome opportunity I had ever seen. You know it when you see it. I jumped.
There will always be people who cast judgement on your vision and actions, but they are coming from their perspective which means the hardest thing to do is keep your intentions clear. People are faced with unexpected emotion – combatting feelings of abandonment and joy – which makes everyone else’s judgement the least clear. Your path is likely not to be another’s, so tend your own grass.
By for now IBM, thank you and you are welcome, it was a pleasure. Hello JPMorgan, a welcoming new canvas to discover, learn from and paint. This is going to be interesting.
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