2/8/13

Unhappy Friday . . .

I left Associated, an agency I dearly loved, a position custom built (and very comfortable) for me, and a place I felt very much at home at in September, 2011. I left for an adventure. A new challenge. A twist in my career. I went from a 65 year tradition to an unproven business with no established success and no safety net (aka a "Start-Up").

I was not sure what would happen or how it would go. I leaped - feet first and nose plugged - into the cold water and it was all the adventure I could have hoped it would be when I splashed down (and I had no shrinkage, I might add).

I've learned more about myself as a professional (who I really am, who I am capable of being, the sort of people I want to work with and the kind of work I want to do with them, etc.) than I had imagined I might. A former boss once, confusingly, told me at my annual review that the best advice he could give me was to "stop thinking of myself as a lone individual with my own needs but, instead, as a business man with greater needs and dependents." I was straight up annoyed at the time. This job made that advice make sense.

I've learned a great deal about a part of the advertising world I never really paid much attention to. I met some amazing professionals. Was inspired by national leaders and local folks trying to hump out a living. I've traveled more than any other job I've ever had - perhaps combined. I've enjoyed every minute of it . . . even the less than perfect moments.

I have been very fortunate. I've been able to develop my career, choose my own path (in some ways) and have worked with just two people for a bulk of my tenure with the company (we had two other employees who I shared a few months each with). They are both very different professionals and they are both amazing men in their own rights. I learned so much from them and truly believe I've established lifelong friendships through this adventure. I was also very, very privileged to work, indirectly, with and for an investor who knows more about business, instincts, reading people and situations, making good decisions, treating people well, etc. than anyone I have ever known. He taught me a great deal and empowered us and ME to seek success. I met with him this morning and even in my "exit interview" (if you will) he inspired me. It is also worth noting that there is such a calm, confident ease in his demeanor that he even got me thinking about my own nature and the way I carry myself and my emotions in the workplace.

Alas - as of a few short hours from this post going live - this chapter of my career will/has come to an end.

For a million reasons, none of which would probably make much sense in this setting, I'm pursuing other opportunities. Pursuing - as in do not yet have one picked out. I WILL take with me my fantastic collection of framed guinea pigs painted as historic figures, my beloved rubber band ball (that has been with me each day of the 15 years of my professional life), my Psych cookie jar, a collection of memories, a notebook full of learning, a million experiences that have furthered me as a professional, and a deep, deep, anxious desire to get started at the next chapter of my career.

I've got five criteria in what I want next. To further diversify who I am as a thinker and doer. To continue to learn from great people. To relentlessly chase another challenge. To apply what skills, expertise, and energy I have. To get back to doing business and making a difference all day, ehhhrrrrry day.

If you need someone with a love of great ideas, hard work, and a potty mouth . . . or any two of the three - give me a shout. I've got all the time in the world to talk about it and see if we might be able to work together to accomplish great things.