The older and hopefully wiser I get, the more I find myself both grateful and amazed to get paid to do the work I love.
The older and hopefully wiser I get, the more I find myself both grateful and amazed to get paid to do the work I love. From my first job as a veterinary assistant until today, I’ve been blessed with opportunities to learn about myself and what it takes to run a business focused on serving its customers.
Now, as I meet with prospective DefenseStorm customers, I introduce myself by sharing I have more than 30 years of experience. I’m proud of my career tenure and also a little shocked I have been a grown-up that long! Looking back, while many of my job changes could be described as “running from” versus “running to,” they’ve all led to who I am and where I am now.
My first post-college job was working as a meeting planner for Fortune 100 companies based in New York City. The days were long as my role was essentially serving as a hotel cruise director for corporate meeting planners. For those of you fortunate enough to have watched the “Love Boat,” think Julie McCoy. Most days began by meeting with clients during breakfast and didn’t end until their group dinner and entertainment were underway. What I enjoyed most about this role was meeting lots of people with varied backgrounds, all with different needs and concerns.
After two years, however, I felt overworked and went to my boss for help. Long story short, he was unable or unwilling to help me find a way to be successful. That roadblock created a desire for change. At this time, the hotel where I worked needed an IT Director, which sounded interesting. Being eager to learn something new and run from a role where I felt overworked and underappreciated, I applied. Surprisingly, with no relevant education or experience, I got the job. It must have been my great attitude!
Ten years later, I was working for a technology company that sold predictive dialing platforms. I was privileged to lead a fantastic team, and my passion for relationships motivated me to find ways to improve the company’s delivery of technical services. It was a very rewarding “worst-to-first” journey and taught me the importance of soliciting input from my front-line team members to improve the service experience.
Unfortunately, when the company was sold to an investment firm, the culture changed in ways that made it difficult to maintain our best-in-class service. Without that ability, I felt a change was necessary, so I began looking for greener grass. I once again ran from a role I had loved for a new challenge at an internet-based banking company.
For seven years, I was in an operations role improving service delivery. Again, I built an exceptional team that valued working with customers as much as I did. Sadly, I also found myself reporting to a boss with whom I just didn’t gel. While building strong relationships had always come naturally to me, my supervisor only valued facts and figures, loved to micromanage and didn’t care about how we interacted. As a result, my skills were hindered. After two years of trying to make a go of the situation, it was time to make a change.
This was an example of the adage “people don’t leave companies, they leave their manager.” I ran from a job where I excelled and was leading an exceptional team to a new role doing work outside of my experience. My scope was dramatically reduced, particularly when measured by the size of the new team. You’re probably thinking that wasn’t the best career choice, Paige. But in the end, I learned more and made more of an impact than in a prior role, because I followed my instinct and put myself in a position to grow and use my natural talents.
My move to DefenseStorm in 2019 broke the “running from” mold. In this case, I purposefully ran to the opportunity to help grow a company in financial services, an industry where I have decades of experience. A previous relationship provided a supportive foundation to build new relationships – my passion. And once again, I could create a best-in-class delivery team focused on forging client relationships built on trust.
Choosing to leave a job that is no longer fulfilling is not unlike deciding to abandon a business strategy or an operational framework that no longer works. The key is to identify what is not working, get input from diverse, trusted sources and know yourself well enough to determine the right next steps.
If you haven’t picked up on this yet, I love what I do! I’m grateful to be surrounded by the best leaders, team members and clients. I can confidently say I’m done running, unless it’s to get to my next client meeting…