in Polymathy

How to create your own job within your company

I came aboard Resultados Digitais – a Marketing Tech SaaS Company – through the Customer Success area.

After 1 year of duty there, I have been lucky enough to get a proposal accepted for creating fresh new position for myself really aligned with what I wanted to learn, to build, and the mission I wanted to lead – that is – a tour of duty.

Since then, quite a few people have asked me: How have you done that? How has it come about?

Well, whether you’re  wondering how to create your own career path or even make a career move to an existing job within your company, lets have a talk in the lines below then.

I do not mean to prescribe a magical formula so you apply in your company and have similar results though, because it does not only depends on you.

My expectation is that you question, reframe & apply the 8 actionable steps I’m sharing with you, because I have applied them to myself to make it happen.

Disclaimer: All of the following advices might not make sense outside of a special set of boundaries my case was built over. Those are : your company fosters ownership, transparency, the company’s timing is somehow favorable & you have spent at least 1 year in your current position. Also, you are not considering quitting your current company.

Constraints set, off to the insights!

Step#1 : Take a Time off company for Musings

Musings

Musings by Pablo

Set aside a day shift in the weekend to reflect, because it’s helpful to get enough clarity on what you want (or what you do not want too).

The main idea of this step is to investigate the main reasons why you are considering a job change and to check how rooted they really are.

The good thing about this exercise is that it comes in handy whether you don’t know what you want for your career or do have a clear picture of your professional future.

Here is Q&A session I’ve run myself into :

(If you have clarity on your career goals, go to the questions c & d. If not, ask yourself questions a & b)

a. Am I feeling fulfilled in a daily-basis?

If you responded yes, great! Then, rule the world on your current position 😉

If you responded no – like I’ve done – then ask yourself

Why not?

A(ex.:) Because I miss spending time doing more digital marketing hands-on assignments, project management, leadership tasks whereas I’m almost 100% focused on communicating skills.

b. What if you could change anything, what would it be to get you more fulfillment?

A(ex.:) Well, if I could balance out the communication component with project management & leadership tasks, I would feel more accomplished.

c. Is the current job helping me to develop the most important skills I need towards my career goals?

If so, great! Then, rule the world 🌍 again on your current position!

If you responded no – like I’ve done – then ask yourself

Why not?

A(ex.:) Because the current position focus on skills of communication, empathy, listening which I have developed enough for now. However, for my goal of becoming an Executive within 10 years and an author within 20 years, I need more of Project Management, Digital Marketing & Leadership Skills (coaching, negotiation, persuasion), which aren’t being covered in the way and depth I wanted to on the current position.

d. What if you could change anything, what would you do to add those skills to your toolkit?

A(ex.:) I would move to a position whose competency matrix would include them.

If you need couple of extra “why” questions to get an alike level of response, just keep on.

Once you’ve got this much of well backed-up reasons & emotions, time to add an extra layer of verification.

Step#2: Double-Check your Reflexions with a Personality Test

Analytics

Analytics by Pablo

Taking a test of your personal tendencies may be a helluva useful in this process.

It can endorse with data your thoughts and feelings you organized in step#1. This is so relevant, because you become more confident about your thesis for yourself and when you convey it to your stakeholders (managers, peers & executives).

I’ve taken the DISC  personality test.

Here is my assessment (in portuguese) if you want to check it out – I find it magically describing my personality trends with 96% of accuracy! Boy, no way – they must have been hired a fortune-teller😂!

Another available options are the Predictive Index, Six Holland Tendencies and 16 personalities (this last one is free).

In my personal case, the main takeaways have been  that my predominant factors are ID (Influencer & Dominant), which had confirmed my deepest motivation lies on leadership and running high-stakes projects.

Got the point? It had very reinforced what I was missing in my job back then. That has been so liberating to get this mirroring outside my mind.

Another great thing about this assessment is that it is such a wonderful & soothing ego massage, because we love to see nice descriptions of our personality, don’t we human beings 😉 ? (Dale Carnegie’s got both eyes on us who’ve read How to win Friends and Influence People…)

All that said, It can be of your advantage suiting your feelings and thoughts with data by taking one of those personality tests.

Step#3 : Share your intentions with your Manager before Looking up for the Next Move

Have a Honest Conversation

Have a Honest Conversation by Pablo

Foremost, be open with your manager about your career musings or doubts. Honesty and transparency are key for mutual help. Hiding stuff may not help you.

(Still, if you do not feel safe enough about sharing with your leader, please go after HR people for further help.)

The whole point is that your manager – by default – is there to help you to dig deeper into your career findings.

Indeed, great managers are – above all – willing to develop their team members, even if it means he/she going to a tour of duty in a different team, because the net result for all in the long run – stemming from a win-win scenario –  tends to pay off all the workarounds of the short term.

So, once you guys agreed upon your “new job” quest, you can do the same check-ups me and my then manager have done.

We have investigated each of the following possibilities from the simplest to the most complex one. As  we found one wasn’t time-wisely possible, we just got past it and moved to the next check-up. Those were:

  1. Check if adapting your current position to embody more of what you’d like to be doing is a possibility.
  2. Map out available job positions in your area.
  3. Check with your manager forecasted positions in your area.
  4. Check with your manager available job positions in your company as a whole.
  5. Check with your manager forecasted positions in your company.
  6. Then, propose a new job position (the utter play)

That’s the way how it came about to me.

I approached my manager first sharing that my sweet spot was somewhere else than where I was then.

As adapting my position to include project management, hands-on digital Marketing & leadership skills wasn’t feasible back then, she has diligently helped as looking up and finding a possible match within available and forecasted positions in the Customer Success Area.

She has also brought in her managers to help me out too. Following, we’ve come to the conclusion that none of the available and forecasted positions would  be a fit to what I wanted.

Then, I have started the conversation with the HR Director to check if what I wanted to learn had any space to happen over there.

As there wasn’t anything there for me too, it was time to gather “my things” and get back to the routine.

No deal.

However, getting several no’s can be a beautiful opportunity to elicit how to better use your influence zone to make things happen given timing issues – a normal part of the game.

To that end, you can make yourself the following questions:

Is the business timing favorable to my job demand right now?

 

Have I first generated value & built trust around my stakeholders to get accepted a job jole proposal?

Those two questions lead us to

Step#4 : Think & Act Strategically on how to Showcase your Interests & to Generate Value to your Stakeholders

Chess Game

Chess Game by Pablo

Well, the reality in business is that everyone’s got a problem, because businesses are there to solve them.

Then, If you’re really serious about inventing your own spot, you’d better develop a strategy to showcase your interests and/or to help your stakeholders to solve their problems, thus convincing them you’re all the way committed to a new challenge with them.

How to do that?

Here are 2 strategies you may take advantage of:

a) GV Strategy: Generating Value to your Stakeholders

Work in a project with people you want to work with and do your best to solve the subjected problem.

The underlying principle is to build trust (I speculate the most valuable asset in society) around people you want to work with.

Once they trust you and know why, what and how you deliver, you’re likely to be in their radar for future opportunities.

b) SI Strategy: Showcasing your Interests

Generate content (blog, keynotes, podcast, vlog, whatever) as a Hobby.

Writing a blog is a powerful asset, because you can showcase your interests and inspire people with your ideas.

Even though I haven’t started this blog with the clear purpose of making a career move – like investor Edson Rigonatti advises us to do – it has been key to showcase my deep interest in company culture, empathy, productivity, career advice which – in turn – has been key to start a meaningful relationship with the HR Director.

If it weren’t for my blogging habit, we would not have been as connected as we’ve got to.

By the way, I’m convinced that if you internalize those 2 strategies as habits, perhaps you’ll never need to go through a job application process the usual way ever again, as – according to Duke Professor Dorie Clark as heard in ep#5 from The Science of Social Media Podcast –  it’s a powerful way to consolidate a high work-ethic personal brand.

Ilya Brotzky depicts very well in his piece give to get hired how is that possible.

A Heads-up :Those strategies are far off of being easy though. They’re simple, but not easy.

Probably, you’ll need to run after hours during the week and weekends as well.

The odds are that you won’t make things happen to your favor if you’re not fully engaged about your career goals. 

Step#5 – Keep High Standards & Do not Lose Track of your current Deliveries

Keep safe & juggling

Keep safe while juggling by Pablo

While executing step#4, be cautious enough to keep your work ethic tided up, because if you fail to deliver now, people won’t be likely to believe in your potential for a next successful tour of duty.

Indeed this may be so challenging, because you may need extra energy for new deliveries outside your current scope of work to incorporate new stakeholders.

Watch out! That context may lead you to lack of focus, which can be a career derailer.

I have felt myself this pain in as written in I’m just got to know that I’m not the Productivity Guy.

Besides, you may arouse some expectation’s friction within your current team, like it’s happened to me.

When I started to blog about company culture in the weekends, my contributions were aimed to the company as a whole, in lieu of something focused to help my CS team, which back then had many challenges to overcome to.

Then, some of my peers and manager have got the impression – I’ve got this from a 360˚ feedback session – that I was more focused on delivering value to the company as a whole than to our 8-people team.

A quick reflexion : this little friction happened even though I was steadily hitting all my monthly goals. So, imagine if I weren’t assuring the staples? How much of friction could I have brought to me plate?

In the end of the day, strive to keep high standards & do not lose track of your current deliveries while aiming a new move, because what you do now can have a serious impact down the road.

Step#6 – Be Entrepreneur & Leverage Current Resources

 Lemons

Got Lemons? Why not making your own Lemonade? by Pablo

Perhaps you’ll need an extra dose of entrepreneurship, because your next opportunity isn’t likely to come in exactly when you want it to appear.

I agree with you that it can be really frustrating not doing exactly what you want to do as your core job and thus getting recognition for what makes sense to you.

On the top of it, you’ve worked a lot more than average to run side strategies in step#4 to get more things done.

I know, you may need empathy now, just like I did when I got couple of no’s in my job quest.

At the same time, it’s equally wise to accept timing externalities as a natural factor in the game.

Yes, the company’s timing might not match yours for creating a new thing.

Then, it’s time to move on.

Raise your head and pivot your plans temporarily if necessary.

Let it go.

Do not feel like doing it?

Why not?

I ask again : Why not coming up with a B plan with your current resources/personal projects out of your motivations?

I will show you what I mean. Here’s what I did:

As I wasn’t  incorporating what I wanted to do as my core, I have taken the personal initiative to fill up my will for Leadership, Project management & hands-on Digital Marketing skills in alternative ways.

These were:

  • Helping my peers with productivity challenges #Leadership
  • Taking part in area’s projects #ProjectManagement
  • Blogging about those experiences here #DigitalMarketing
  • Developing guest posting partnerships with Lincoln Murphy, the Thought Leader in the CS industry #DigitalMarketing

And that was exactly how I made my pivot.

I simply set aside my “new job” quest, job rotations – whatever – and have got more focused on my current deliveries plus the above mentioned initiatives.

Step#7 – Be Patient

Patience

Patience by Pablo

As time went by, 2 months after implementing Step#6, the HR Director invites me to a lunch.

I wasn’t even curious about what it was all about, because I thought we would just talk about casual things.

No expectations any more regarding career planning stuff.

But then, as we were eating she sketched up an organisational chart on a napkin…🤔

She told me she had been discussing with the CEO what the HR area was going to look like within the next 2 years.

Then, all of a sudden she has circled one of the job boxes which would accommodate my then career ambitions and told me it was meant for me.

A bit surprised but not excited, I replied her my timing for this offer wasn’t as good as it was 2 months ago when I was fully engaged in that fetch.

In fact, I told her if I had to respond in that very day, my answer would be a no, because my engines were all set to my pivot plan.

Nevertheless, we agreed upon a 5 days deadline so I could think more about the new opportunity and then get her a final decision.

After tons of solo musings around career again, several talks to friends, SWOT Analyses, I got her a final yes after 3 days 😀

And so – inspired by Buffer – we have created the Culture Scout job position in Resultados Digitais.

buffers-culture-scout-debora-rippol

Buffer’s Culture Scout Deborah Rippol

The job position includes company culture, inbound marketing for recruitment, employer branding & HR cross-functional projects which incorporate all the skills I wanted to develop then.

Therefore, be patient.

Even though, it doesn’t mean patience will bring what you want to do, but at least will help you to keep focused on execution for the time being.

Not to mention, this is a great virtue to develop nowadays 😝.

And eventually, it can bring custom opportunities for you as you prove your professional ROI (ie.: value) while timing factor does its part 😀

Step#8(additional): Refresh your Career’s Opportunity Cost Analysis

Opportunity Cost

Opportunity Cost by Pablo

If you’ve made to step#7 and have been patient enough to await for a new opportunity, but it hasn’t come about yet, step#8 is an additional step in this framework special for you.

I’ve intentionally written “perhaps” in the headline, because there is no guarantee you’ll create your own job.

As a matter of fact, this event depends on variables you may not be able to control or even influence, like the company’s timing, strategy, mission, values, vision among another factors you – as an employee – may not be aware of.

That’s why – now – you may need to refresh your career’s opportunity cost analysis.

Put simply from microeconomics, opportunity cost is the value of all opportunities you’re inherently losing upon choosing one to take forward.

In terms of career decisions, you also can apply the same rationale to make better decisions – in other words – getting the most output in accordance with your short, mid & long term ambitions.

For instance – as laid out in the intro – quitting the company I was then working for wasn’t voluntary option for me.

That’s because I have got enough clarity about all opportunities out there I was missing against working for Resultados Digitais with my career ambitions as a background.

That is, as my next major career goals is to be an Executive in the tech/startup/digital marketing scene and Resultados Digitais was the best company of that niche in Brazil, it would not make any sense quitting.

The company’s brand, the work experience & high quality networking were assets that – by far – set off my mental & emotional costs of working outside my sweet spot in the long run.

Have I made my point clear?

However, the opposite may be true too. It can be time to quit.

Consciously quitting though. Not out of the first, second, third – and so on –  friction you’ve possibly had within you company, but because you’re really aware of all the predictable consequences it encompasses.

For instance, let’s say you want to be a professional coach.

You’ve been planning your transitioning to Coaching for 5 years whether as an employee or independent professional.

And then, you propose to create this job in your current company.

Conversely, your company strategy hardly foresee this full-time job position fitting its strategy anytime soon.

That is, there is no way out inside to be a coach.

In this situation, you’ve got a clear mission/vision incongruence against a deep desire to make a career change you’ve been holding for a while, meaning that it’s time to consciously quit your current duty in this company given all those clear reasons and constraints.

All of this said, the purpose of your refreshing your career’s opportunity cost analysis it to get you to a rational point from which you can decide – based on your short, mid and long term aspirations – to consciously resume your current tour of duty or to quit.

With this way of thinking, you can avoid decisions like immaturely quitting your current tour of duty (most likely to happen to young millennials) or even staying longer when the opportunity cost is high for you.

Looping all up

If you want to adapt, move or create a new job position, you can question, follow or adapt my personal playbook:

  1. Step#1:Take a Time Out for Musings
  2. Step#2: Double-Check your Reflexions with a Personality Test
  3. Step#3 : Share your intentions with your Manager before Looking up for the Next Move
  4. Step#4: Think & Act Strategically on how to Showcase your Interests & to Generate Value to your Stakeholders
  5. Step#5: Keep High Standards & Do not Lose Track of your current Deliveries
  6. Step#6: Be Entrepreneur & Leverage your Current Resources
  7. Step#7: Be Patient
  8. Step#8 (Additional) : Refresh your Career’s Opportunity Cost Analysis

Please refer back up again to the set of constraints this framework have been built upon, so you don’t misuse it.

Resources

If you want to build your own playbook from scratch, here are the resources I’ve delved in to come up with mine:

  1. The Alliance Course by Reid Hoffman & Chris Yeh has helped me to learn to understand the Alliance Framework for career planning and to have honest conversations with managers & employers.
  2. Book Business Model You by Timothy Clark has helped me to develop more clarity on career planning & self knowledge
  3. Book How to Win Friends and Influence People  by Dale Carnegie has helped me to think & act more in terms of what people value and not necessarily myself
  4. Many mentoring conversations with Role Models

Hope you enjoy them!

Now, over to You

Feeling really honored to share my experiences with you over here 🙂

Now, I would love to get your thoughts on them!

Does this playbook make any sense to you within the described boundaries?

If so, why? If not, why not then?

What would you adapt given your context constraints?

Ps.: If you somehow have got any insights from this reading and are resolute about applying them to yourself, could you please come back later to tell me how it went about for you? #Grateful 😄🙏🏾

 

  • Fernanda Guabiroba

    Another really nice and inspiring post, Mathias. Congrats!
    The last step made me remind of some conversations we had back in 2013 about opportunity costs…

    Keep on going!
    Cheers !

    • Thanks my friend! You’ve nailed it ;D

      Never been so motivated to run this project like I’m now 🙂

      Thanks for the props! #tamujuntu