Over the years, as a consultant, I've filled various roles. Two of my favorite roles, or duties, were mentoring and leading a team. I've been fortunate enough to have that opportunity more than a few times, but recently moved back out of self-employment into a salaried position to take on full time team leadership, with an emphasis on coaching and mentoring.
This is something I've wanted to do for about 5 years. When I first started thinking about this, I had already had the opportunity to co-lead a large team in a fast paced, tightly managed environment. Eventually, the stress that resulted from the tightly managed aspect of that burned me out and I fled to a lower paying job that nonetheless led to job and income stability for well over a decade, including previous tough economic downturns like the one we're presently heading into. A little over half way through that 12 and a half year period, I began seeing more turnover in the office at my client site. Lot's of young minds were streaming in under the leadership of a young manager whom I reported to for a brief time. She had a talent for finding bright minds and recruiting them and it was my joy to interact with them, find out what motivated them, and occasionally recruit them into my projects or tap their expertise. We spent a good amount of time walking around the parking lot on our breaks just talking, too.
As a consultant, their fates were not in my hands and I didn't have the bandwidth or authority to guide their careers, and while I was certainly influential (in their words), I wished that could be my main job. As time went on, I found the role I was in suffering a sort of organizational atrophy. We went through several reorgs in short succession, and the scope of activities and expectations, along with the work-from-home change to the daily routine, deprived me of the comradery we'd enjoyed and also served to alert me to a decline in demand, within the company I served, for my technical services.
At length, I decided it was time to look for a new job. While many people looked at my resume and wanted to put me into the same sort of position I was leaving, one recruiting firm in Columbus, Ohio, looked at me as a person and picked a couple of very promising roles for me, for which I interviewed all the way to the third round for each. Ultimately, the best fit for me was the one offer I received, and now I find myself quite happy to have a new set of responsibilities, and a team brimming with young minds to guide along their career paths!
As a result of this change, the nature of what I blog about here is likely to change as well. My personal focus is migrating from technical aspects to leadership aspects. A recommendation to me from my new manager has been to obtain a copy of and read, "Turn the Ship Around!", by L. David Marquet. I highly recommend the book to anyone who wants to change the way they interact with subordinates, or the way they view being a member of a team. It takes wide adoption to realize the gains covered in the book, but there is a wealth of individually applicable advice that will help anyone in any job better enjoy, thrive and grow in their current or future occupation.
On the technical side, we're doing a lot with Azure, so I plan to share some of what I learn about that in a future piece. I'll just say for now that there's a lot to absorb and if you want to get into it, getting a Udemy or Pluralsight subscription is not a bad place to go after you consume all of the free content you can find on the internet.
To wrap up this post, I want to underscore the most valuable insight from Marquet's book: Learning is core to everything we do, so look at everything you do as a learning opportunity.