Here it is, first day on the job for real. How did I get here? That’s a good story. Don’t the craziest experiences always make for the best journeys?
About 14 months ago I decided to leave my respectable job in the outdoor industry after being employed in the same company for 14 years. (No comment on the 14.) I’d worked my way up the ladder over the years, and had a great position. It was the kind of job that when people asked about my work, they acted surprised like they didn’t actually think I was that smart. I liked the people at my office and had been lucky to receive tons of professional opportunities along the way. Why in the world would anyone leave a job like that? Honestly, I was ripe for a challenge to land in my lap, but didn’t really know it until the phone rang. There I was, somewhere in the middle of upper and middle management, just about to take my lunch break when the call came through. The man on the other end was the president of another local company, whose growth had exceeded the heads of the team in place. They wanted to talk to me about what I could do to create and lead an Ops team within their company. Okay, I thought, game on, and I took the job. I was psyched. I was so ready to be sitting at the top management table, creating and contributing to solutions and change every day. I loved it.
Four months into my fantastical dream-job came the news that the company was going to consolidate both of its U.S. locations into one, and our office was the one to do all the packing. Buzz-kill…to say the least. Don’t these decision makers at corporate headquarters half way around the globe know that I’m in charge of what I decide to do? Apparently, they didn’t get that memo. It was my choice to go along with the move to the big city or stay put, but when you live where I live, you’d end up moving to the city and then spending the rest of your time planning vacations to come back here to play.
Our company’s president had decided to depart immediately after the move was announced, citing the same lifestyle choice. That left me and two other management team members to co-lead the group until a new team was in place in the big city.
The next 9 months were a remarkable, crazy daily adventure of busy like I’ve never seen. I joked with my family that “this is the year mommy really didn’t exist” because I was always working to help keep the company functioning as staff members left for new jobs, and the work kept coming. The challenges pushed every one of my skills beyond their limits, and exposed every cog of the inner workings of the company, its people, and its purpose. I found being in the middle of this hail storm to be so challenging and invigorating, that it hit me like a SUV driven by a behind-schedule cell phone obsessed soccer mom whose kids are late for practice and didn’t see the stop sign and there’s someone in the street, holy crap…kind of way. I’m going to start a business of my own! I can do this. This is my calling.
New plan, order up.