Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Taking a Risk

I don’t mean taking a risk in the abstract sense (though I believe in taking risks as a general philosophy). I mean in the middle of all the lay offs and global market worries, I am changing jobs.

Friends are divided into 2 camps: “You’re crazy to move now!” or “Way to go!”.

Depending on the day, I find myself agreeing with different folks. I’m alternately thrilled and terrified. I’m leaving a job in an established department with loads of visibility to senior folks and where I’m respected and trusted. I’m moving to a newly created position on a virtual team in a recently formed department with an ambiguous job description. Who wouldn’t have taken the step?

Two things conspired to create my decision. One is my long-term career goals. As vague as they are some days and as much as I add regular caveats that the ‘plan’ is subject to change, I recognized months ago that it was time for me to leave my current set up and learn new things.

The second piece came as a result of advice offered by a peer mentor: the people who are valued in uncertain times are those who take risks and are passionate about what they do - instead of keeping their heads down and playing it safe till the crisis has passed.

The best place to create influence is always before the wave crests or the crisis is resolved. Instead of waiting for markets and industries to settle, I’m putting my hand up now. I’ll show what I’ve got to offer and accept the possibility that the fit might not work. I want to be part of how we’re evolving even if that increases my risk that others won’t agree with my suggestions. I don’t want to wait for others to make decisions when I could be making some myself.

It’s a riskier place to be - but incredibly rewarding if it works.

No comments: