My job now….. find another job. Is someone looking for a superstar? Is there a company who needs a 2010 Lance Berkman and would be pleasantly surprised with a 2011 Lance Berkman? Here I am. Finding you is my job now; I started working my new job on Friday the 13th.
Unfortunately, but predictably, I was laid off one week ago today. I debated writing anything concerning my layoff but I needed this catharsis. First, let me say, I am not upset with the company for doing what they felt was needed and I wish them nothing but the best. They have a great product and a bright future. I now have relationships that will outlast the employment and experiences to help me in the next step.
This post could be named many things, but I will stick with what it will take to become a superstar again for another company. I have been a superstar for several companies and always felt like I aligned myself with the business needs of the customers. I will summarize.
First, ABC Financial Services was a great organization and with some of the best people I have ever had the opportunity to work with. They developed a great business model for health club billing and developed Datatrak, a SaaS (Software as a Service) model for their needs. Paul Schaller once told me how smart he thought I was as a budding professional and encouraged me to take my talents on the road for them. I became a software trainer, a QA guy, and implementation engineer for Datatrak. Those were not official titles but when you are in the field and a new product hits production, you become all of them. I traveled extensively for ABC, flying all over the country: sales engineer, field operations engineer, travel tech, account manager. All of these titles were interchangeable since the customer determined the title, you were whatever they needed you to be. In a role like that you begin to understand the importance of knowing the business and customer needs from front to back. Something I have attempted to do at every stop afterward. The experience I had was truly important to jumpstarting my career and confidence.
I won two Schaller awards while there which was the equivalent of being a superstar. I remember my experiences with ABC Financial as being the first place where the customer truly was the most important thing.
Leaving a job where you travel 22 days out of a month to work a job that has set hours is something that can take a while to get used to. You have been used to being on call with customers, calling your colleagues all day everyday, booking flights, hotels, rental cars, planning your next trip, etc. All of a sudden your life gets quiet. Very quiet. Before, you used to wake up ready to tackle the day as a “bigshot” as one of my co-workers, Sal Corrente, used to say. Thank you Paul. Thank you Sal. Thank you Mike Millican. Thank you Mark Walker.
I resigned from ABC after moving to California and chose to work locally so I could maintain a closer relationship with my daughters and be there when they needed me as opposed to being needed while I was there. The move was beneficial for my personal life and health.
Secondly, I started at Front Porch as the support team leader and worked from 8AM to 5PM everyday. This was quite the change for me, but I enjoyed a set schedule and a great technical staff. I was there for 3 years and worked for Kathy Fields and Kari Olson. Kathy was promoted to director and I became the support services manager. My team was top notch by the end and the people I hired are still working there today.
The things I learned at this company will stay with me for the rest of my life. Kari, our CIO, was a very demanding and hands-on manager. If I could personally offer thanks to anyone from my past it would be her. She has the managerial style that forces great planning, communication between teams, as well as, the ability to identify possible failures in a plan before implementation. She is a great leader and as a result I have benefitted.
I worked well for Kari and Kathy and as a reward I won the Core Values award twice there, becoming a superstar for the company.
I recently read the autobiography of Steve Jobs and felt after reading it, he might have been one of the most charismatic men to ever lead a company. He was not generally loved but well respected by his co-workers. I admire his ability to find great people, encourage them, hold them accountable, reward them, rinse and then repeat. He built a pretty strong company and I see my former bosses in the same light. They all knew how to motivate their troops and make superstars or as Steve would have said, A+ players.
The layoff is still fresh in my mind and I am sure I will look back at the experience in a different light once I have had time to reflect. I will save it for another time. In the meantime, are you looking for that missing piece, your superstar?