Last week, following probably the worst IT downturn in the last 8 years I decided to leave Elcom. Crazy huh? Yeah, it may turn out to be foolish, but in this post I aim to explain why, and in the following post, what Iâ€˜m looking for as my next step.
I thought Iâ€™d put this out there and see if it opens the door to any opportunities.
Have I resigned?
No I havenâ€™t actually resigned as yet. But I spent time last week chatting with our CEO, covering why it was time for me to move on. Yesterday I spent most of the day individually informing my team, and letting them know the reasons why.
Itâ€™s strange to be announcing you are leaving when you donâ€™t have anything lined up yet, but Iâ€™ve chosen this path for a few reasons:
The first is that I ask this of my staff. From the start Iâ€™ve always encouraged my team to talk to me about any problems, concerns, de-motivations, aspirations, job offers they are persuing, before they resign. That way, it gives me an opportunity to â€˜fixâ€™ any problems if I can. And if I canâ€™t it allows me to help them find their next role, and in the process avoid all the hassle of sneaking around to job interviews, taking hushed calls from recruiters, and possibly unsettling the rest of the team. The team have responded well to this, and a few possible losses over the last year have been saved. They are happier and motivated, and everyone is better for it.
So, it seemed only fair that I follow the same process with my boss.
The second reason is so that I can write the post you are now reading! My preference is to find my next role via the community. So, consider this a social networking experiment. When I left my last role prior to joining Elcom I did it quietly and using recruiters. It wasnâ€™t until Iâ€™d accepted the role that I let most people know. At that time a number of them mentioned theyâ€™d wished theyâ€™d known I was looking. This isnâ€™t to say that I think Iâ€™m fantastic and everyone wants me :-) Rather, itâ€™s just that I have a reasonably specific skill set and Iâ€™m know thereâ€™s places where Iâ€™d be a perfect fit. By blogging about it here I may have a better chance at finding those places.
(Plus, in my next post Iâ€™ll be mentioning that Iâ€™m happy to relocate, and since Australia only represents 10.6% of my blog readership, using this blog to reach a wider audience seems useful.)
Why leave now?
I love Elcom. I work with a fantastic team. We have a fantastic product. My boss â€“ John Anstey, the CEO of Elcom – is quite simply the best boss Iâ€™ve worked for in my career. Anthony Milner â€“ one of my co-directors – is an exceptional Projects Director, and has challenged me to work at my best this last year. Overall itâ€™s been a wonderful experience. I could go on, but I will spare you the gushing sentiment. Suffice to say Elcom has been a special experience (and Iâ€™ve happily agreed to be available as an ongoing consultant in a few strategic areas).
So why leave? Basically, it comes down to this: Iâ€™m looking for my next big challenge.
As much as a clichÃ© as that is, Iâ€™m simply looking for something bigger.
Yes, but now?
But why leave now, with an economic downturn in play, layoffs happening and general uncertainty gripping people?
As much as this is a scary time, I see it as a rare time of opportunity.
The next few months are going to sort the weak companies from the strong. As Iâ€™ve mentioned previously, now is the time that the truly excellent companies will flourish. The mediocre companies will disappear. Iâ€™m looking to join a larger company that is truly excellent.
But will those companies be looking for someone like me?
Obviously thatâ€™s the scary part!
However, one piece of advice my father taught as a teenager has really stuck with me. He said quite simply:
Thereâ€™s always a job for the best
I believe that. So, no matter how difficult the economic climate thereâ€™s always going to be a position for the exceptional candidate. The question is of course whether I am exceptional :-)
And my answer to that is: Yes – for some roles out there I am going to be perfect. I work really hard on my key skills (weâ€™ll go through those in my next post), and Iâ€™m optimistic thereâ€™s a good fit out there waiting for me.
I hope this doesnâ€™t sound too arrogant. One of the difficult things about looking for a job is you need to learn how to sell yourself. Itâ€™s probably an Australian thing, but we generally have a difficult time talking ourselves up and promoting ourselves. So please forgive me if I donâ€™t quite get the balance rightâ€¦
What kind of company are you looking for?
I think it is inevitable that Iâ€™ll end up working for Microsoft at some stage. Whether that is in the next few months, or the next few years remains to be seen. Itâ€™s no secret (if you read my blog) that Iâ€™m passionate about Microsoft and its products. My great love is applying Microsoft technology appropriately to achieve business outcomes. So any role that allows me to do that is a dream job. Working within the walls of Microsoft would only make that sweeter.
Thereâ€™s no set timeframe for my leaving (as I havenâ€™t officially resigned as yet) but Iâ€™m thinking within the next two months. Iâ€™d ideally like to have this sorted out before Christmas (and Iâ€™m already talking to a few people).
Thought for the day
Iâ€™ll close with the following quote. Iâ€™m not sure who first said it, but it pretty well sums up my general outlook on life at this point:
The enemy of a great lifeâ€¦ is a good life.
Iâ€™m extremely grateful for everything in my life. But I believe we should also be continually striving to improve.
In the next post Iâ€™ll go through my thoughts for where that next step might be.