FIRE.075 Fully F* It Job Change

I was talking with some ChooseFI friends at our meeting/meetup after an excellent presentation on targeting your Super Powers and trying to push the other life tasks to the side.  I shared how I did an unofficial Job Design change.

I worked at a mega corp for 18 years.  It was great.  The worst part was every 18-24 months there was some type of market constraint forcing the management to consolidate teams, departments, and divisions.  We peons were always aware during these times that someone in your 4-person cubicle would not be there at the end of the day.  FREAKY, crazy stuff—unless you have FU money.

I went through six or seven of these RIFs.  Once our whole department was outsourced to IT companies—yeah, that was strange.  I ended up being hired back into the mega corp  6 months later into a great position, and bridged my way back in as if I had never left.

What I learned from these activities are:

  1. No matter how hard you work, how much effort you give to the company, you are truly just an employee number—a cost to the company leadership and
  2. The work you perform/deliver must be valuable to your boss(es) to have a chance at corporate survival. 

This post is about being strong enough to do what you want—at work, elsewhere, etc.

My new position in 2004 was an IT Infrastructure architect and security leader for our huge division’s global deployment project (a “10-year” project).  My colleague had the same position for his division.

This was a great job with a lot of cool technology, lots of interesting travel, and working with very smart people who were hand-picked to work this important project.  After about a year in the job, I decided I liked the infrastructure aspect much more than security.  This became obvious to me as my peer seemed to love the security tasks. 

One day in a meeting, I told him, “I will take over your division’s infrastructure if you take over my security role and we can focus on our interests (strengths).”  He thought for a while and said he would “ask his director.”  I immediately said, “let’s try it first, in the meetings we share and see how it goes.”

My logic was simple; I thought if we just started working with each other’s divisional teams more and accomplishing the tasks, nobody would care.  It turned out that taking on his infrastructure was simple enough for me, the team members and stakeholders seemed to appreciate our expertise immediately compared to each doing both roles simultaneously.  (See item #2 above)

We continued in our new roles for the next decade more or less, doing what we loved.  Nobody EVER questioned why I worked in the other division and not on my security tasks because all the work was being completed, with both high quality and a positive attitude.

Original Jobs

Employee 1

Employee 2

Division A

Security/Infrastructure

 

Division B

 

Infrastructure/Security

Changed/Improved Jobs

Employee 1

Employee 2

Division A

Security  (strength)

Infrastructure  (strength)

Division B

Security  (strength)

Infrastructure  (strength)

When I think back to how ridiculously bold it was to change my (newish) job role and work across divisions without asking anyone, especially in a mega corp, I realize I’ve done the same ‘being-different’ in so many aspects of my life. 

Maybe the goal to the success of each “life differences“ was to avoid a problem while delivering successfully.  Which of the graphics above seem the most logical to a boss?  I figured; deliver for the stakeholders so the bosses could only accept the success.

After this job change, I never had to “beg for forgiveness vs ask for permission” because success doesn’t require forgiveness.  I (we) just happened to be successful.  If we would have failed, then there would have been some serious scrambling.

My next post will be about another un-requested job change that worked out great…

*** Nothing in this article is to be construed as financial advice.  I am not a financial planner, nor do I pretend to be.  You should always consult your own professional when seeking advice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.