This newsletter is a day late, a buck short, and I’m writing the report on losing and failing now. Who said starting a letter with Blink 182 lyrics was a bad idea?
These are the dog days of summer but don’t be fooled there are no jobs to apply for. Companies are ramping up their hiring in preparation for the end of year rush. All those beautiful listings are laid out at the end of this letter.
I’m a strong believer in serendipity. Every job I’ve had, and every person who has helped me in my career has happened through serendipity. I’ve never found a job through a traditional job board. A couple of months ago I told my current employer that I wanted to leave. I don’t have anything lined up. But after spending 7 years in various roles in the same company I had reached a ceiling. The work had become repetitive. The challenges we faced as an organisation couldn’t be solved by four people in a room. They took weeks or months, cycling through endless JIRA tickets and Slack messages and bcc-ed emails, to be resolved.
In short: we stopped being a startup and started being a big corporation. Which is unsurprising. We had recently been acquired. I joined the company just after it raised a Series A and stayed through Series B, C, D, E and then acquisition.
So I have started looking for a new role. It is exciting and terrifying in equal measure. But it is the most adult way I’ve ever begun the process of leaving a company.
There are no half-days or fake doctor’s appointments to schedule. No sneaking around behind anyone’s back. I will stay to find my replacement and look for new opportunities in the meantime. It is very refreshing.
The renowned designer Stefan Sagmeister
started a tradition of taking a sabbatical every 7 years because, despite all the success achieved with his work he “was bored. The work became repetitive”, and found that in the long run his creative output benefited from those off-work explorations
In the book The Craftsman, sociologist Richard Sennett describes how “skill builds by moving irregularly, and sometimes by taking detours”, which is akin to regularly looking for serendipity in your everyday life. It encourages “the strengthening of current skills and allowing the development of new ones”.
This started to make sense when I applied it to every job I have ever had. I started working at my current company because I wanted to learn how to code and, when I started the course, I got chatting to the Director running the course.
Every internal move I made in the company from that point on was through personal relationships. And I’m sure the same will be the case with wherever I end up next. I’m not leaving it up to chance, I’m looking for the serendipity. But not in that way