Today, I start a new job. I’ve spent the past 6-ish years toiling in commercial real estate property accounting. I’m now moving into internal audit with one of the world’s largest logistics companies. I think it’s something I will enjoy, but only time will tell.
Why look for a new job? If you’re gainfully employed in this economy, why take that risk, and why put in that effort? It’s complicated. Mostly, though, it was that I didn’t enjoy my work, and I knew there were probably opportunities out there that I would enjoy. I don’t think I’m cut out for the never-ending monthly accounting cycle. Some people are, I’m sure.
There’s a fine line there. Work is work. It’s not supposed to always be easy and enjoyable (if ever). I’ve been greatly helped by Matt Perman and Gene Veith in thinking about this tension. My work is part of my vocation (which includes my family and church responsibilities). My role in my vocation (every aspect of it) is to serve God and serve man. This means that no matter what I do, from holding a Little Ceasar’s $5 sign to crafting the federal budget, I have the opportunity to serve and honor God and serve God’s creatures. All work can be holy and thus, all work can be satisfying and fulfilling. However, if my job matches my passions and strengths, I’m more likely to enjoy it, and I’m therefore in a better position to serve God and others. If I’m productive and doing excellent work, I’m doing a better service than if I were unmotivated and less productive.
So, it was with that desire, to find something more fitting for my strengths and desires, that I started looking for a new career opportunity.
This is a big, kind of scary step, for sure. Being the new guy right out of college wasn’t that bad. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Being the new guy 5 years removed is a little different. At my old job, I knew what I was doing. I knew the company well. I knew the processes, the nuances, my teammates. I got along with my team well (not always a given!). Everything was familiar. I’m leaving that now for a lot of unknown. Everything I’ve heard about the new company has been positive, but you never know until you’re in.
I think the uncertainty of it was one of the things that helped solidify my choice. I’ve been a Seth Godin fan for quite a while, and his book Linchpin was a revelation. One of the things that has stuck out to me most in his writing is how much fear holds us back. We don’t take the big steps we desperately want to because we’re afraid of failure. But failure isn’t bad. The vast majority of happy, successful people have failed at some point (usually big time failure). I could have settled for the familiar and continued in drudgery, or I could go try something else. I really think this will be a good fit, but even if it’s not, I don’t think I’d ever look back on this decision as a mistake.
One of the most common comments I’ve heard when people have left places I’ve worked goes something like this, “Good for you for getting out; Take me with you.” I didn’t want to look back after 20 years and think I stayed at a job I didn’t enjoy because it was too much work to “get out”. If you want out, take the initiative and see what else is out there. Don’t do anything rash, but don’t settle for less just because it’s easy. Things worth doing are rarely easy.