Nothing Like a New Challenge


Today a co-worker and I had lunch with someone that offered me anopportunity that I haven’t had in quite a while: basically a new job. My day job acquired another company recently and this new group has some support positions open. The products this division supports is a bit different than my current area of expertise. No big deal, I can always learn new products. What they need is someone who has a general understanding of networking, which I definitely have. A co-worker of mine also has this expertise and is in the process of transitioning into this group.

Transitioning within a large company gives you a lot of the benefits of getting a new job without a lot of the downsides, namely the loss of seniority and redoing your entire benefit package. It’s also good for the new group because you are basically a known quantity and they don’t have to go through as much red tape to get you. It’s a win-win.

This manager I had lunch with was particularly gung-ho. “When can you start?” he asks us. This co-worker of mine will probably transition in a month or so. The project I am currently on is winding down, but probably won’t wind down until the end of June at the earliest. There is no way I could transition before that. I have to get some people in a different office up to speed to transition my work to them–something that already in the pipeline anyway, but it takes time.

I was feeling a bit rushed into making a decision about this. I could totally sense the urgency in this manager. I have to say, he was extremely high energy, clearly knew the market, and would be a great person to work for. I know that I have a little bit of time to think about it, so I’m not going to make any rash decisions. But it looks like a great opportunity that, unlike my current project, appears to have some life to it. And I got scared fora little bit and even a little excited.

I think I now understand what it is that I’ve been missing for a while: a new challenge to conquer. A new product. A new situation. New people to work with. New customers. New situations. For too long now I have experienced “too much” of the same. The same customers. The same problems. I’m just bored. I think it’s the reason I lost my desire to work with Check Point FireWall-1 (though, ironically, I installed it today for the first time in two years).

I suddenly understand why a friend of mine is big into working in small startups and then leaving after they reach a certain point in their evolution. I understand why people change job every few years. I understand why people are serial entrepreneurs. The thought of a new challenge must energize them.

I remember some of my “new challenges” and how it gave me some extra energy. I remember when I first started at my day job in 1999. I knew I had a bit to learn, but I was also good at what I did and I had something to prove–that I could be effective working several hundred miles away. I remember in 2003 when I was given an opportunity to try something new with Knowledge Management. I didn’t know how over my head I was going to get when I started, but I embraced it and took it on as a new challenge. I ultimately ended up back supporting products again a little over a year later, which itself was a new challenge due to the fact it was a different product. Each one of those changes was an infusion of energy.

I think I understand why I like new gadgets: they too can be a new challenge. Unfortunately their challenge is short-lived since they tend not to be too hard to figure out and decide if I want to integrate it into my daily life or not.

Bottom line: my day job needs a new challenge. Fortunately, I see it on the horizon.


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