18 April 2008

Stepping into the Quantum Leap accelerator

So its now day two of life in the slow lane. Wednesday finished up across the road in the same pub that I had my leaving do in from my last Irish job back in 2000, lending credence to the Buddhist view of life as cyclical. When I first introduced myself to the office in 2004 I noted how in four years my life had moved about 100 meters, as you could see my old office from my telecoms-days from our building, and our old apartment in Rathmines was across the road from our new one. It was like the scene in 'Dallas' where Pam wakes up and Bobby is in the shower, and the previous series was just a dream. This analogy drew blank stares as most of the office had not been alive when 'Dallas' was on, so I related it to that scene in 'Family Guy', where Pam wakes up and Bobby is in the shower...

I did a quick search on our intranet before I left and discovered that 92.12677% of all employees globally started after I did, which is pretty amazing when you think about how large the company is, and the fact that I've only been there for four years. This rate of growth was probably one of the factors in my decision to move on. When I started you really knew everybody in the office, and it was more of a collective than a company. There was a real sense that everybody was working together, shoulder to shoulder, trying to make it all happen; there was no real feeling of hierarchy, we all just had different parts to play and there was an impressive amount of collective decision making. As Department Head key decisions were ultimately my call, but I had such a talented group of people working with me that I was able to trust their judgement and let them get on with their jobs. Of course as the business scaled it became harder and harder to have this same personal relationship with each employee, and thus by necessity a sense of hierarchy developed, facilitated by increased job specialisation.

As I realised that I was not enjoying running such a large stratified organisation, feeling the loss of connection and solidarity with my team, I looked elsewhere within the organisation and tried to develop our Corporate Social Responsibility program. In essence this was more of a project manager role as there were a number of very talented people already devoting a small portion of their time to this area. Where I came in was to bring all these strands together into a coherent platform, placing the emphasis on 'Social Action' rather than the blander and somewhat emotionless 'Social Responsibility', and drive this to adoption with my colleagues on the leadership team. However the more I worked on this the more I realised I wanted to work on this, and not just as a 50% role. I wanted to do this full time. Thus about four weeks ago I decided to move on, and try my hand at something more meaningful and emotionally rewarding.

It was in this way that I have entered the ranks of the Datsusara, leaving a scarily comfortable job for the great unknown, without a master plan but striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that my next leap would be the leap home. Or something like that. I'm planing to go back to college in October as i feel I need a bit more grounding in the Social Action world before I try and work there full-time, but a lot can happen between now and then. At the moment I just want to rest, recuperate and detox from four of the most intense years of my working life.

Oh Boy!

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