When You Don’t Get What You Want (Like A Job)

I really like my job. I work in tech, I drive innovation, I change things for the better. I see the results of what I do. My customers come from the industry probably the most on fire for this change, not to find themselves out of business tomorrow. I work for a multi-area, I travel a lot, I meet great people. Colleagues, customers and partners.

Yet a few months ago I applied for another job. As it has always been the case with me, I was not looking for one. However, a position in Western Europe (another multi-area) has opened up for exactly the same role, and I saw it as a great opportunity. I would work with customers and partners at a different maturity stage, I would have new challenges, I would learn from new brilliant people. And it would strike my passion of geographies: I would reconnect with the Nordics and get to know new cultures. It just felt right, 101%. From the moment I learnt about this role, I knew I should go for it.

So I did. I thought that my interviews went well, but then learnt that the hiring manager changed his search criteria and was now looking for a different profile. That happens.

It does feel bad not to get what you want, for sure. Especially if you are generally used to winning. Winning most of the times makes good salesmen, entrepreneurs and other risk takers. It also does make bad losers. It stings not to get what you want. Especially when you are 101% sure that’s the right thing.

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Why I Love Working in Tech

I keep this blog to remind myself that life does not boil down to a job no matter how much you enjoy what you do. So I write about my travels, happiness hacks, my attempts on photography and almost never about work. However, I was reflecting a lot recently on what I do and where I want to get, and I have tapped myself on a back (as much as it is technically possible to tap oneself on a back) for having chosen the most amazing industry to work in. So here is why I love tech.

Level playing field. No need for the bar exam. No need for an MBA. No industry elite. You should just be good at what you do and be passionate about it. Some of the best coders (and CEOs of unicorns, the most valued startups of the Silicon Valley) are school dropouts. Steve Jobs was a school dropout. So were Bill Gates and Larry Ellison (the founder of Oracle and, in case it does not ring a bell, the world’s third richest man at some point). What is common about people in tech though, they are smart. Some academically smart, some consultant-smart, hyper tech savvy and some just know how to market and sell. You learn a lot from them, every day.

Great if you can code. If you can’t, there is still plenty for you to do. Caveat to the point above (and a personal example): it sure does help to have an MBA to get in. However, that means that what you are good at is connecting the moving parts of an ever shifting puzzle. That’s by far not the only thing you can do in tech. It is not even the key part. You can love Sales, Marketing (and I am not even talking digital!), HR, Business Development – and do great stuff in tech.

Never boring, always changing. Nothing is what it used to be half a year ago. Business plans are scrapped after several months, projects get 360 degrees makeover in the middle. Small experimental projects catapult to new business. It is exciting and it is life. Some people call it ambiguity (which to some extent is fair). I just love the pace. And you do learn a lot managing all this complexity to reach your goals, as well.

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To Be Happier

I started this blog a little bit more than a month ago with a post on the importance of doing what you LOVE. It was my strategy to change my thought track from work-work-work, to reboot and to take a moment to appreciate all the beautiful things that were passing by with the speed of light. In a way, it was my own happiness project. Since then, I was keeping a promise I gave to myself to post at least once a week, usually on Mondays.

A lot of amazing things have happened. I have started taking pictures again. Not only that, I was actually going though them afterwards: editing, arranging, uploading here. With my edits, I wanted to do something more tailored than Picasa, my usual editing app, could offer, and I have downloaded Lightroom. I have played with my DSLR camera to see what it was capable of outside of the comfort zone of the auto mode. I got so excited about it that I have bought a new lens and upgraded my camera. Sharing my travel experiences made me live through them again, to my delight. Taking time to write and post pictures gave me this space for reflection which I was missing.

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Stocking up on energy: do what you LOVE

A few weeks ago I reached out for a Harvard Business Review’s book “On Managing Yourself”. You know, a type of a book you buy after a year in a great business school, when consuming tons of a high quality content on self development becomes a habit. The school is over, you don’t want to lose the habit (and an addicting feeling that life is full of great things, and most lie ahead), and so you get books which you never read, because life does not slow down after school. On the contrary: life, real life with a new job and its ambitions, new projects and their bills, new friends and the old loved ones, just begins. One of the senior executives in the company I work for calls that a constant quest for balancing act, and I kind of sympathize with this life view (hence the tag). Because now, once MBA is over, life’s setup becomes sort of fixed. And somehow self development goes on a shelf, right next to the book.
Nevertheless, I have reached out to this book. Why? I was feeling pretty much dead. I live in the city I was dreaming to live in since I first stepped on its streets ten years ago. In my personal life, I am happy to the extent that I don’t want to write about it not to jinx it. After my studies, I got a job exactly in the type of company I wanted to be – and in 1,5 years managed to get to do there exactly what I wanted to do. And yet, I was feeling pretty much dead.

So I reached out for the book.

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