Hello, good afternoon, good morning and g’day! It’s been some time since I had the time or energy to write a blog between switching jobs, purchasing and moving into a new house, finishing another module in my Master of Data Science as well as all of the other things life can throw at you!
This blog post is another ‘non-Data Science’ post. But one that I hope you’ll find equally interesting and informative to read. I know that I am not the only professional to have had some doubts or questions about the direction I feel that my career was moving in at any one point in time, and I’m hoping that what I can share about my experiences will help others to make the right decision for the betterment of their respective career(s) now and in the future!
The decision to move on and leave a Big 4
Mid way through last year I was in a fortunate enough position to be offered a promotion within PwC to Senior Manager/Associate Director within the Consulting line of service.
Whilst I had already being working closely with one of the teams in Consulting it was a fantastic opportunity for my career to progress further from a management perspective. I was also able to gain access to some very high profile – and high pressure – projects in the firm that would in turn offer a multitude of opportunities to develop a variety of skills, my professional profile as well as professional network. The people I had already worked with were simply some of the most interesting, talented and passionate people I had worked with throughout my time at PwC and I am forever thankful to the Health Analytics and Actuarial department in PwC (you know who you are if you’re reading this 😉 )
With all this being said I found over the course of a couple of months that after the shine of the promotion had rubbed off the work I was carrying out was not quite in line with what I wanted to actually be doing. Over the previous 2 – 3 years I had started to pivot my professional day job towards more advanced analytics and data science and I found that at as a Senior Manager I wasn’t in a position to carry the technical elements out quite as much. I imagine many of you reading this will think ‘Well, no s**t! You were senior manager not a technical gun consultant!’ this is a fair observation but not exactly the point of the article. I think the much more important piece I have learned over the years is that:
You and you are alone are best qualified to tell you what you will enjoy or gain the most fulfilment or satisfaction from doing, no one else can tell you this. If you don’t know this, you need to find it out as soon as you can. Listen to others but trust yourself first.
After realising that the work I was carrying out wasn’t quite technically focused for me had a decision to make: Should I stay, lean in and change myself or should I take the decision to pivot out and away to something else? I chose the latter…
Entering no man’s land and joining a Post-IPO startup
It was with an extremely heavy heart that I handed in my resignation to the partner I reported into at PwC, however, I knew it was the right choice. This was even considering that:
- I had no job to move into when I handed my resignation in
- I had literally just purchased a house and had the first mortgage payment due imminently
- I was getting married the following year and had all the prep and financial savings to carry out!
Everyone I spoke to said it was a ‘brave’ or ‘ballsy’ decision, however, to me it was the only right decision to make. I also think you before anyone else have to have confidence in yourself, your abilities and your potential. If you don’t you’ll crumble at the first sign of challenge or resistance from others.
So, post my resignation being handed in I started the merry dance of speaking with recruiters, friends, ex-colleagues, direct company contacts and if I have somethings to pass on it is that:
- Networking is unbelievably key and important, if you don’t already have a network in the city you work in you should! Probably about 50-60% of my interviews were through friends or previous colleagues/acquaintances.
- Some times HR or Recruiters are less than ‘optimal’ when it comes to communication. Don’t take it personally, some people are better than others.
- Applying for jobs is hard work, don’t think of it as anything less than that…
For the first time in my life, prior to accepting an offer for a new job I had no role to move into and no guarantee of a revenue stream coming in for the future. This frankly scared the bejeezus out of me for a week or two whilst I was starting the job application process up. This is something you should be aware of if you’re looking at leaving a job without any guarantee of a new role straight off…I certainly can’t and won’t speak for others but it affected me and what I saw as a ‘professional identity’. I felt quite lost and with no professional identity, which at first felt weird.
Fast forward a 3-4 weeks and after a number of conversations, enough coffee to drown a hippo, interviews and ‘chats’ with a variety of companies I was fortunate enough to be offered a role as a ‘Senior Business and Technical’ Consultant within the firm Domo. Again, I trusted my gut instinct and leant on some industrial experience before I gladly accepted the offer. As of writing this post I’ve been with Domo for around 3 months and whilst the company is hugely different to a Big 4 its an absolutely fantastic place to work where I’m able to flex technical and business muscles as required to help our clients in a Consulting capacity!
Making the right choice for you
Throughout my career I’ve always tried to make the right choice by myself first. This may be seen as selfish, but as I’ve always seen it you need to take care of yourself before you take care of others (including your family and loved ones!) and if you can’t do this right you don’t have the right foundation for everything else that life throws at you.
It’s often the toughest choice to make a change from a position of comfort in a professional sense. BUT, if you are feeling some twinges of doubt, uncertainty or your gut is making sounds that things aren’t quite right: LISTEN to it; it might be the best choice you make (as long as you’re genuine it’s you making that choice and not the persuasion or opinion of others)