It’s a good headline isn’t it? It possibly overstates the case, but it seems there is a lot going on – mentally at least – and as we can’t see many of you in person and discuss over non alcoholic beers and lemonades, we thought we would put it in writing instead.
TL;DR (too long; didn’t read): Paul and Eli have new jobs!
In February, Paul put out a very public shout out on Twitter and LinkedIn saying that he was up for new challenges. He had a very decent amount of support, so it was only fair to update everyone as to the results. Over to Paul…
First of all to shout out two resources that have helped me hugely as I have navigated my way through this process:
1, Jodi Wagner’s 2018 London’s Calling talk on careers and how it’s unlikely to be a straight line.
2, A timely discussion on career shifting (“professional reinvention in precarious times”), hosted by a former employer of mine. I now regard it as the natural follow-on to Jodi’s talk.
What happened after the social media post was… not a huge amount; people reached out but without anything ticking my boxes. I did take happiness and thankfulness in it being reshared but I know that posts on twitter have an extremely short shelf life and there’s no guarantee of them being magic bullets.
Eventually (well, it seemed longer than it was, I type now, realising that it was just 8 weeks ago) I spotted three different, but suitable, positions on various job boards and got invited to interviews at all of them. Of course I won’t spend my time ranting about companies not providing salary guidance, because everyone already recognises that that promotes discrimination, don’t they?
Anyway, I didn’t get any of the jobs. That’s fine. One gave me some recommendations elsewhere; another let me know that I didn’t have the specific technical skills they require, but the third epitomises what’s wrong with companies when they are recruiting: they just sent me an email telling me that I hadn’t got to the next round, and then didn’t respond to a request for feedback.
By not providing any feedback, that meant I couldn’t improve. If all other companies follow that logic, it means candidates don’t learn anything, and everyone is wasting each other’s time. Which is probably why interviewing is so painful and time consuming for everyone concerned.
In fact, interviewing – a game where someone else holds all the cards and you have to second guess what they are looking for within a tight time frame – doesn’t work for me. It’s probably noteable that I’ve got the vast majority of my roles in the last 10 years from networking – building up understanding, knowledge and trust/relationships. Interviewing is completely unlike my day to day work, where I speak with people, get answers and go back to them for clarification later on, if needs be, once more information has arrived.
Sidenote: It’s worth pointing out that I’ve taken on Karen Mangia’s “Success with Less” mantra. I only applied for jobs which I thought were likely to fill me with joy – I don’t want to “urg” every morning when I get out of bed. Mornings are hard enough anyway!
A phonecall from New Jersey
So what next? Not a lot. I continued to scour the job boards. At least a week went by without anything suitable, but it felt longer (I’m not good at being patient!). Then Eli got a call from Noam Levi, the CEO of Wiserspread. Eli had worked for him twice before (at different employers).
Wiserspread focuses on small and medium-sized companies (and the occasional nonprofit), primarily based in the US. Wiserspread is doing well and Noam wanted to know whether I had some spare capacity. We chatted and he mentioned that he was looking to expand his team.
It sounded interesting – that’s exactly the client base I empathise with, and enjoy helping – but I wasn’t 100% sure. Would I be able to keep the customers happy? Would I be ok managing projects by myself? I’ve done this for 10+ years and even have a few long-standing nonprofit “private” clients, but I still doubt myself from time to time (thanks imposter syndrome!).
During the call Noam pointed out that working with US customers (remotely, from the Netherlands) would mean taking some calls in the evening – time that Eli and I try to reserve for non-work activities. I passed the phone to Eli so I could think about it. I know that sometimes I take time to process things and I wasn’t certain due to the lifestyle impact that that would have.
What Noam didn’t know, but I did, was Eli was also embarking on a career change. He had recently completed a transition program at Cloud Integrate, which he helped co-found. As of the end of March he was stepping down as a director. Cloud Integrate’s niche is focusing on certain aspects of the Enterprise market which turns out not to be 100% suitable for Eli who prefers working with small and medium sized companies. He remains very much involved with his projects for existing customers.
So back to Wiserspread. After the calI, I said to Eli that I wasn’t sure. Eli responded “but you don’t like getting up in the morning anyway”. And then it all clicked into place.
I hadn’t recognised that circumstances had changed. It’s true. I really don’t like getting up in the morning (unless it’s to welcome 100s of attendees to a Dreamin’ event, as per the photos below!). Evenings suit me better. If Eli was was doing some work for Wiserspread (which was the output of his conversation with Noam), then he would also be working some evenings; our “days” would still align. So we can visit museums, go on bike rides and take Jessy on walks, just that some of it will be during early afternoons instead of at other times.
Choose your priorities – CzechDreamin mornings aren’t the same as a normal morning!
Logistics sorted, back to cultural fit: Eli and I both like working with small and medium sized businesses, so Wiserspread’s customers are a good match. Add in the fact that Eli used to work for Wiserspread before we moved to the Netherlands and it all aligns; Eli will be able to guide me on some of the logistics, although we’ve learnt that it’s usually best we work on separate projects!
Am I excited? That’s not my way. Being excited for other people comes naturally to me, but for myself I’m a slight worrier. But do I think this could be fun, varied and interesting… so nervous yes, but – on reflection – a tiny bit excited too. Actually, I need to add this: I’ve already emailed Noam with some ideas which have been warmly welcomed. That’s a good sign!
So I am back in the same place I was in 2011, when I joined the Salesforce ecosystem? I’m primarily (still) helping nonprofit, small and medium sized businesses.
On the face of it it looks the same, but as I write this and take a step back, I realise that my canvas (world) has expanded enormously. I’m in a brighter, happier place, growing my tool set, realising more of my potential and having a really positive impact in ways that I couldn’t have imagined 10 years ago. Not bad.
If you want to know what I’m into at the moment, and what’s influencing me, these are my 5 go-to resources: (in no particular order)
- Better Allies: Follow them on twitter or subscribe to their blog for inspiration on what everyday actions we can do, to create inclusive, engaging workplaces.
- Numina “Mutual Empowerment”: I believe we are either leaders or trying to help our leaders. This blog somehow helps me locate myself on that spectrum and helps me understand the world.
- Decrapify Work (part of the Be More Pirate movement). Investigate at your own risk!
- CloudJohann: a blog by a Salesforce CTA with the heart of an admin, about a wide range of Salesforce matters.
- Forcepreneur podcast: to be a good solo Admin we need to be entrepreneurial to support and understand the organisations we work for. Listening to Ankit as he interviews many leading players from the Salesforce ecosystem, giving amazing insights into the world of business, and the challenges presented.