Jul 312013

Are you in a job that you love, a job that feels like it was made just for you, a job that makes getting up a joy?

You have the freedom to be in a job that feels that right. We are in America, the land of opportunity and freedom. But opportunities only come if you are willing to decide and then actively pursue what you want. Wishful thinking doesn’t get you far. Too many people decide to go day-in and day-out to work that they know is not a good fit for them.

I made an important crossroads of life decision a few weeks ago which explains why I haven’t posted in a few weeks. After working for more than six years on my own smartphone software startup, I decided to sell my shares and plunge back into the Fortune 500 corporate sales life, the area in which I thrived for more than 15 years.  I carefully considered and re-considered my professional experiences with various employers and realized that working in major account professional sales, selling complex, strategic, business-enabling technology is the arena that I love the most and truly was at my very best.

Once I had that fact in my mind’s eye, where to go work was easy — I have a great interest and love for business intelligence and data warehousing. I decided to return to Teradata, the undisputed leader in BIG data warehousing and analytics, used by many of the largest, most successful Fortune 500 companies worldwide. I had experienced an early version of Teradata back in 1992 − 1993 and really enjoyed it, but outside influences succeeded in recruiting me away.

This crossroad was a great experience. It is liberating to decide — 100% for yourself — what exactly you want to do next. Deciding for yourself lets you jump in with both feet, fully committed to what you are doing and why you are doing it. Too many people let outside influences sell them on their next job, without planning what they truly want for themselves. They fall into their next job, and then they feel locked in for years to come, wondering about other possible pursuits, wondering why they don’t feel fully committed, and struggling to be more optimistic about their future. I thought about this crossroads for several years, narrowed my focus over time, and ultimately decided what I wanted. It didn’t happen quickly, taking another 18 months to finally have the right opportunity pop up. Luckily, opportunities always pop up eventually for the person that knows what he or she wants and has the patience all good things require.

I would encourage all you of you think through what makes you happy and positive at the workplace. Ask yourself the lottery question — if I had my choice and money was not the (primary) objective, where would I be working and why do I want to work there? Once you are crystal clear on this one question, it becomes a straightforward effort to find that job and move forward, optimistic and happy without the feelings of drudgery that accompany 8 − 5 at the wrong company.

When you are passionate and optimistic about what you are doing, you become a top ten or even a top one percent professional. Such professionals tend to get more opportunities, get promoted, and ultimately do very well financially too.

Discern what you want and make that crossroad decision. To quote Yakov Smirnoff, “America, what a country!” But you have to make a choice and you have to take decisive steps, to take advantage of the freedoms America truly offers.

I.M. Optimism Man

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