It’s a winning one, I know already.
I’ve been through some struggles on the professional front, especially during the so-called mid-career stage. A stellar start in my younger years (investment banking), then various business roles and some experiments, then entrepreneurship that didn’t work out. A “non-linear” career path is a valuable experience until it’s not. At some point, the nonlinearity becomes a liability. I wrote several stories about it.
Then there is a problem of me being picky. I can’t stop mentioning one particular short gig I had. It was fairly recent. I got connected to a seasoned entrepreneur who had this “brilliant” idea of an employee surveillance app. He called it productivity monitoring. I can’t think of a worse product. It went against my every conviction; I had no belief in its ability to sell, let alone become a billion-dollar business (my boss had that vision), yet I hung around for a while, hating it, and got my paycheck.
One of my consulting jobs has been enjoyable and successful, but there were others that were absolutely not.
Anyway, a couple of months ago I came across a job opportunity that I found on my alma mater's job board. I went through several rounds of interviewing that culminated in a full day spent in the company’s office near San Francisco. It was an extremely rare occasion when I loved everything about the job, the environment, and the team that I met.
I know myself. I know myself very well. I know different versions of myself — I am capable of half-assing and I’m capable of achieving excellence. Actually, excellence can’t be achieved by definition. But you can strive for it. It’s a journey. I’m a passionate runner for example. I don’t miss my routine. I’m a perfectionist about my running, amateur though it remains (well, a 2.49 marathon isn’t that amateur!). I want to improve forever. As another example, I did pretty well academically, having gotten into some of the world’s most prestigious institutions. Why? Well, I worked very hard, especially in my very young years.
So I have this feeling now. It’s unmistakable. I want to achieve excellence in this new job. I want to be the very best version of myself. And it’s totally not about my ego or ambition. In fact, I am ready to serve others. Why is now different? I don’t know exactly. I guess it’s like meeting someone who’s a match. Stars align. It’s not easy. It happens rarely. Sometimes it takes decades to…