Today is my last day in corporate America (or at least in the confines of a 9-5 job).
I've learned and experienced a tremendous amount in my career. I've jumped from boutique branding agency to global consulting firm to advertising agency to design studio while juggling 4 startups of various size, impact, and scale at the same time. As I jump full force into a completely new world of startups, venture capital, and entrepreneurship, I want to be sure I'm taking the right things with me and leaving behind the things that will slow me down.
What went well (what I'm taking with me)
- Explosive thinking: This is the consequence of the nature of my work (fast-paced, ever-changing, and never certain). Explosive thinking is the ability to think on my feet, come to some thoughtful or valuable conclusion fast, and express it eloquently and concisely.
- A rebel spirit: I'm not sure if this has anything to do with the jobs I've been at or more just me, but most people I've met that I have loved in this career all had some sort of chip on their shoulder. A reason to prove themselves right and others wrong.
- Care first: this seems obvious, but all of the most impactful managers and co-workers I've had all seemed to approach work with this mindset.
- Attention to detail: This is something that was definitely learned and not innate to me. I really struggled with this, and though I am far from even competent at it, I strive towards it more.
- Being strange: I've met some seriously odd and wonderful people in this career, and I am so thankful for that. They've helped to draw the strange out of me, and I am so much better for it.
What I'll do differently (what I'm leaving behind)
- Pride in busyness and overworking: this is something I've never understood, and something I will vehemently oppose in Staat's culture. I believe there needs to be balanced. Finding pride in busyness or overwork will lead to nothing but an individual's own downfall and harm. It helps no one and hurts people so much.
- Wild, harmful, flailing egos: This is perhaps inescapable in our society, but something I've always detested. Individuals who are allowed to prop up their loud yet fragile egos at the expense of others is something I will not stand for moving forward.
- Contrived hierarchy: I think an org chart and structure are important, but I'm leaving behind any notion that someone deserves more respect than anyone else just because they have a title. I don't want anyone to feel they need to tiptoe around me or design their life, personality, or happiness around my preferences. We're all working towards the same thing.
- Preferences versus Progress: This is something I feel we all battle. It's somewhat connected to the previous point, but I want to leave behind this notion that my or anyone's personal preferences trump progress. Just because an individual likes things done a certain does not mean it's the best way.
- Toxic Positivity: I love positive people as much as the next person, but if a person has to wear positivity at the cost of their actual emotional or mental health, it's not worth it. We know life is up and down, good and shitty, bring it all – we can find a way to support you through it.
I'm sure this will be an ever-growing list, and I'm sure there'll be learnings from my new world as well, but I'm glad to have taken the time to do this.