Most people who know me professionally know me as a Business Analyst who is fanatical about managing her time and stubbornly determined to fulfill promises. With nearly a decade of defining problems and delivering solutions, my work history is filled with projects I’ve turned around and efficiencies gained despite diminishing resources.
I’ve recently had conversations with people who are re-evaluating or starting on their career paths. They were surprised to learn that once upon a time, I wanted to be a sculptor. Or a screenwriter. Or a movie director. Or work in the field of gerontology. Or work in the field of clinical psychology. Or become a copyright lawyer.
So how on earth did I end up as a Business Analyst and remain dedicated to the practice for so long?
I recently read Drive by Daniel H Pink on the recommendation of our VP of HR West at Intact, Angela Champ. The book itself is a perspective-changing read on motivation and leadership. If you haven’t read it, there is a great 5-minute video that summarizes it’s concepts in YouTube:
One of the things the book reminds me of is a question a hiring manager asked me early in my career as a Business Analyst: What motivates you to do a good job?
This was not a question I had encountered before the interview. I took a moment to ask myself what truly does motivate me. The answer I came back with was perhaps idealistic, but my inner voice asked me a question back:“Who wants to show up at work to do a bad job? I want to succeed and accomplish because of the virtue of it, unless there are surmountable obstacles that prevent me from doing so.”
I provided my potential manager with a summarized version of this. The look on her face instantly told me that a reporting relationship between the two of us would not work. She wanted to know whether she could dangle a carrot of money, public recognition or promise of advancement to motivate me to achieve goals she had in mind. I wanted a manager who would remove obstacles so that I could charge forward with the inherent fire of motivation that burned within me.
So was my first lesson that an interview wasn’t unilateral. Through this experience, I realized that the recruitment process wasn’t just about impressing a potential employer. It was also about finding a leader, team and company that could support you. It was about finding a leader who you wanted to work for and work with. And before you can properly assess that, you need to understand your own motivations for seeking employment or a new job.
I was first introduced to overtime at my first job out of university. It was a contract position with a decent starting salary, but no medical coverage and no vacation time. The only way for me to either earn money to cover additional expenses, or to get banked vacation time, was to work overtime.
A few months into my contract, they offered me a permanent full-time position that came with medical coverage and vacation days. Overtime became a careful option for me when my manager requested it from the team. I had to balance between my need for a bit of extra money and my need for time to feed my first love, stone-sculpting.
One week, I was asked to be available on-call for the weekend. They were frantically looking for someone on Thursday, and I offered to do it because I didn’t have plans and my co-workers had families to tend to.
A few weeks later, they again asked for someone to be on call–this time, making the request a few hours before the end of the day on Friday. I reluctantly agreed to help out again, wanting to be a team player.
We start blogs, articles and books with an introduction, right? I suppose it’s a good a place as any.
This is actually my third blog. Both of the previous ones are no longer online, except perhaps deep in the bowels of The Internet Archive.
My first blog was a personal one I started before Facebook was a common tool for people to keep in touch with friends and family. Run on Geeklog, it was my first experience with building and hosting my own website.
My second blog featured commentary on visual arts and copyright law. I can’t remember if this one was run off WordPress or Drupal, but I do remember it capturing my attention much longer.
I stopped both blogs after they were no longer relevant. So why start another?