Let me start with something from a distant memory. I knew a principal of a school and I asked “What qualifications does a person need to be a principal”? I remember the answer was “just a master’s degree” and I responded “no experience needed?” and he replied “yes, but that creates problems because principals with no experience teaching have high turnover, low morale, and have pitiful results in their school”. It was then and there I knew one thing mattered most to me over anything, experience and a variety of it; however, this “variety” can harm and help you at the same time, it just depends on how you go about it and that brings me into a new chapter into my life…
I reached a crossroad, one of which many young and ambitious network folk come to a stop at. I am faced with a tough decision, I love what I do, I am passionate about my work, I embrace change, and I firmly believe some of the best change can be disruptive change; however, I find I don’t “fit in” with the rest of the crowd. What is a person to do when they absolutely love what they do and the company they do it for but simply don’t fit into the company culture? I have learned the best functioning teams have members who are united together at the workplace and also can relate to one another outside the walls of work. That is what you call a team, a unit, a family. Think about it, you spend more time at work than you do at home for most of your life, why not consider the ones you work with family? If you consider them family and family is first, you understand what it means to help keep the team moving forward. These facts alone should help you validate the decision to move on from a job if the decision to move forward is based on the lack of a united team, a team you consider family and functions like one. A fractured personal family never lasts long and is always filled with hurt, the same applies at work.
When you look back you’re wondering where the first part came from? In a family you have a leader, the person with the experience and the personality to help those who look up to him or her in time of need. The head of the family, the leader, has walked through the valley, put their boots on the ground, and have been in the thick of it all so they can confidently send you into the situation or not, because they have been there before and have the experience to know if you’re ready. A real family leader has the experience from life and life is, typically, experiencing new things in new places, not remaining in one area forever. This is not to say you can’t and shouldn’t always “come home”, but you can bring home the experience you learned to help nurture a family, the same applies to being a leader at work and is where the “variety” piece of this comes in.
I am sure thousands of young and aspiring engineers have been in environments, where a leader was assigned but the team functioned as if it were leaderless. Thus, when looking for that “family” you also need to ensure there are heads of the household, the leader, who isn’t so much someone who “dictates” but knows who to place where to get the job done and how to help others reach their goals…like a real mother and father in a real family. In life, most people spawn off and create their own families and become leaders, likewise, the same applies at work, someday you’ll be the head of a family, just be sure you’re ready.
The theme here is family, you don’t want to just be on a “team”, you want to be part of a greater thing, a family