newprotest.org: NEW ADVENTURE

NEW ADVENTURE

July 12, 2021
by: jovial_cynic
Today is my last Monday at the current job with Washington State.

It's weird to have changed jobs during Covid. Twice. The first job was as a Sales Leader with Allstate. Early in the pandemic, they transitioned to work-from-home, like many jobs, and my office became the space around my laptop. It worked out quite well - my family and I lived on a 51' boat, which meant that my office was really anywhere along the Puget Sound waters - sometimes in Poulsbo, sometimes in Tacoma. We didn't make it to Canada or Alaska like we planned (due to travel restrictions) but I'll still argue my office was nicer than anyone else's.

When I left Allstate (or Allstate left me? It's complicated) and picked up a job with the State of Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner, my office view didn't change. We still lived on the boat at the time, so my adventure into state government employment didn't feel like much of a change. My "office coworkers" were still my wife and my kids, and aside from being on the phone a lot more (my job involved talking to consumers who complained about their insurance companies), my routines were pretty similar. Another key difference is that I was a supervisor. Having subordinates has been a little strange in a remote environment. True story: I've never met 5 out of 6 of my subordinates, except by Zoom. Aside from little "how was your weekend" chats as the late-arrivals would log into virtual meetings, I can't say that I know much of anything about my team. And I think that's why transition out of this current job feels so odd. I'm saying goodbye to people I've never met, and due to lack of time and face-to-face interaction, there's not really any emotions about it. I think the only emotion that I've had is this growing feeling that a state government job isn't for me.

If you know me at all, you know that I like to tinker. I like to create things. I like to come up with creative solutions to problems, and really push the borders on what is possible. I crave adventure, exploration, discovery. So as you might imagine, being chained to policy and procedures and paperwork and the correct crossing of "T"s and dotting of "I"s has been, in a word, torturous. It has been soul crushing for me. Not to be thwarted, I *did* impose some change on the way the office was run. I set new expectations on my team that encouraged my subordinates to ask more questions and to look for solutions in novel ways. But some borders are functionally immovable; policy and procedure documents could take months... YEARS, even, to change in meaningful ways. I just don't have the patience for that.

At some point, I polished my resume and updated my LinkedIn profile. It was, in fact, my LinkedIn profile that caught the attention of a head hunter who was eager for somebody with my background. They were looking to create a new Sales Leader position in the Northwest, and having already been a Sales Leader with 17 years of insurance experience, I was exactly what they were looking for.

Initially, I was not interested. I mean, it's a bit of a contradiction to suggest that I'm creative, exploratory, and always looking for new adventures when I've spent nearly half my life in a single career field. All in insurance! I told the recruiter that I was hesitant, and that quite frankly, if I was going to accept any interview (seven separate interviews with the company, as it turned out), I wanted it to be very clear that it was I who would be interviewing them, and not the other way around. I needed to make sure that there was a philosophical alignment between myself and the company. I previously chose not to reapply with Allstate due to philosophical differences; I wasn't interested in tying myself to another company with whom I disagreed.

In the end, I decided that the new company was acceptable to me. The interviews revealed to me that the company is very interested in new ideas, changes, new ways of succeeding, and that in my role, I would have a seat at the table for these discussions. Additionally, the role would give me a tremendous amount of freedom. Freedom to solve problems, and to look for efficiencies. The structure is basically, "Here's your territory, here are your resources, and here is the goal. Go get it!" I love that. I thrive in that. And it's for that reason I accepted the job and am eager for next Monday.

I'm very excited about this. No mixed emotions at all. Just a sense of wonder as a new adventure opens up in front of me. I can't wait.
np category: personal
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