I haven’t grown tired of repeating that phrase just yet. It may come as a shock to those of you who regularly read my melodramatic tirades, but I wasn’t a huge fan of my job. No really, I know this is the last thing you expected after all my pissing and moaning but please, pick your jaws up off the floor, I’ve got some points I’d like to get through.
This isn’t the story of Sam Rabinovitz – who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side. There isn’t some happy ending where I and an ethnically diverse deuteragonist meet in Zihuatanejo to live out the rest of our days as free men. Nope, this is plain ol’ me, back at it again trying not to hurt myself with those big-ass words I’ve pulled straight out of the thesaurus.
Coming into the adult world I had two prime objectives in mind throughout my search for a job. I wanted to learn how to sell and I wanted to be in a startup environment where I can pick up the skills that might someday help me open up my own business. Despite everything I ranted about just a couple of weeks ago, it was coming to the realisation that I have achieved both of these goals that made leaving at last so much easier.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t claim to be Dale Carnegie or Larry Ellison – I’m no guru of sales. Hell, I barely got a fifth of those ten-thousand hours in to master the craft. Yet I learnt how to sell – and sell well at that. The Machiavellian art-form bode well with me, to the point that it didn’t feel like a challenge anymore. No matter how many numbers you can add to your commission statement, repeating the same pitch and handling the same objections time and time again will grow tiresome.
So that’s that. I’m done with Sales. It’s about time I do something with meaning. As for the startup side of things? I could write a book on all I’ve learnt.
I learnt the importance of valuing your employees and the time they’re putting in. No I didn’t expect the CEO to come running to me on my one year anniversary with flowers and arms spread for a hug like ‘I can’t believe we’ve been together a whole year!’ – damn, if that happened I probably would be so uncomfortable I’d quit then and there ( – yeah, shocker, I have commitment issues). It comes down to being treated as a person. From giving your employees the time of day all the way to helping them on the path to their own dreams as gratitude for building your one.
I learnt the value of company culture and the drastic effects that a lack of one can have. You can’t simply name your company culture, repeating a bunch of positive-sounding statements will not serve to make your propaganda a reality. To inspire and encourage employees you have to lead from the front as a living embodiment of your values at all times. Yeah I realise how Disney that sounds, but if all I wanted is a vacation from poverty, I can find that elsewhere.
One of the biggest lessons for me was about trust and delegation. I’ve always been a perfectionist. If I believe that I can achieve a task better than you, I will do it myself nine out of ten times. When you have entrusted someone to do a job and you have prepared them for this to the best of your ability, you have to take the training-wheels off and let them run with it. You have to find the faith in their abilities to allow them to correct the course by themselves or you’ll end up looking over their shoulder for the rest of time.
I think that’s probably enough of the ‘It’s not you, it’s me – but it’s actually you…’ vibe for today.
“So what now?” I hear you and my parents ask (- repeatedly).
Our protagonist will soon find his next port-of-call and a new field to conquer. As for right now, he’s sitting in the garden in nothing but shorts, admiring his late attempt at a summer-body and enjoying this sunny funemployment break while it lasts.
I’m free. I’m finally free.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
― President Theodore Roosevelt