About seven years ago, I took my first corporate job at a large company. Having worked at startups the first few years out of college and even in school, having only worked for small to medium sized businesses, I was a bit overwhelmed by the experience. I recall the first week, in a staff meeting, listening to Brian Acton (great guy, incredible engineer and pretty good sense of humor). At one point, I must have looked confused and being the new guy, made a fairly easy target. “Then we have the TLA’s,” he said, smirking across the table at Rob, my boss.
Apparently, the look on my face was priceless because at that moment, I felt like I should tear my hair out and could not fathom at all what TLA meant. I was going to look it up and had written it down, alongside a dozen other things in my notebook. “He means three letter acronyms,” somebody else was nice enough to point out. As soul crushing as it was to be the victim of the joke, I realized something: work is better when you have good people, who can share a laugh and when people take the time to explain things. (Side bar: digg.com had a story about how if you like your co-workers, you’ll live longer. It makes sense).
During a series of interviews last week, I got asked a bunch of typical (and not so typical) questions.
Then in the “post analysis” that I always do with my wife, I realized something profound: I’ve already got a list of plans, strategies and tactics that I’m excited about putting together (assuming things move forward). Last time, alongside my confusion, I had no firm idea of what the first step, or second, or fifth was with regards to the role I had. Getting thrown into the deep end of the pool as a kid, (I refused to jump off the diving board, and schools weren’t as PC back then), I developed a fear of water that lasted about seven years, as well, and prevented me from learning to swim very well. Fast forward to my time in Bali, Indonesia – I was boogie boarding, attempting to surf and snorkeling, all without a life jacket and barely able to swim. I didn’t just tolerate the water, I loved it.
I think work is similar. After a traumatic experience….it’s pretty hard to want to jump back in. However, meeting with a bunch of likable people, discussing plans and strategies that would “move the needle” made me realize: I’m very excited about jumping into the deep end again. Sure, it won’t be easy. Nothing worth doing ever is. But, the journey forward should be incredibly exciting, fun and rewarding.