I’ve decided to write a book about changing jobs and the personal impact of career transitions.
Its outline is still a little vague but I have met a really great writing coach and I am excited about working with Barbara.
In thinking about it, I’ve reflected on what is the same and different among the things I’ve done work-wise. Many of the differences are apparent: different subject matters across law, financial services and the food business. Different dress codes. Different types of talent required and different compensation structures.
But after nine years in the food business and longer in the other fields, it’s the vast number of similarities I find interesting. People are people: no matter the field, no one likes to think they are underpaid, in the dark communication-wise, not recognized or not heard. It really has been the same everywhere and I hear in stereo from Andrew in banking and Marilyn in an oil company that things haven’t changed since I left the corporate world.
There’s so many similarities in the substance of the businesses too: revenue matters whether it is a large law firm vying for the big estate or deal that is up for grabs; a bank constantly being assessed by the analysts; or a cupcake business adding stores and learning the ropes of digital marketing,
Expenses also matter a lot in most fields although focusing on them can ebb and flow. I realized after I left the law firm that it had been a prosperous period for the firm; the partners weren’t expected to think about expenses too much as long as we brought in files. (I think law firms pay more stringent attention now to expenses).
But in my first year of taking a job as a bank VP, I was told by the SVP that my budget for office supplies for the year was done. Done! No more ball-point pens could be ordered and it was only Month 6 into the fiscal year. I remember thinking, “Who are these people and why did I leave law?”
Now I understand better that the expense line is as important as the revenue line, with the balance being required between being too tight and blithely unaware of what’s being spent where. At PGB, it is really helpful to have a group of senior people whose judgment I trust on decisions – and when you think about it, every decision a company makes usually has a price tag associated with it.
Anyway, I’d say the similarities across businesses are greater than the differences. But that isn’t really the focus of my book which will be more on how different types of people thrive (or not) in different businesses. That, to me, is the juicy part.