This past week marked my six-month anniversary at Sage. Around the time I started, I wrote a blog announcing my job change and reviewing things I had learned in the previous year. (You can read that here if you’d like.) I’m afraid if I wait another six months then I’ll forget half of what I’ve learned.
Six months ago, I was ecstatic to be joining an amazing and passionate company, working with amazing and passionate people, who welcomed me with open arms. I saw in the colleagues that I’d be working with a desire to do their best and an excitement for the direction in which the company was going. It was the first time I would be in a role where I wasn’t responsible for anybody’s bank reconciliations, payroll or tax remittances to be done on time, and the second role where I didn’t have to pay my team’s payroll out of my own bank account, or worry about clients not paying on time, or if I had charged them too much or not enough for my work. However, I would never have been able to take on this job if all those things hadn’t happened, if I hadn’t lived through what it was like to start and grow a bookkeeping firm of my own, to work in an accounting role in industry, or in a large firm. Each of those three roles prepared me for this new chapter, the greatest challenge so far.
I’ve had a lot of questions asked of me over these last six months, especially around my transition time back in the summer. There was a buzz of curiosity from friends, peers, and app partners. There was concern about me losing credibility as I was taking a role at a company where I didn’t know the products as well as other software I knew intimately, potentially losing friends of that brand in the process, and about me being at too large a company where I’d be swallowed up and not allowed to shine.
Some of the conversations I had with people at the time, and continue to have, revealed that some of those concerns were also fears of mine. Yes, I loved the role, the people, and the company. Yes, I knew that taking the job was the right decision for me and my family. But the big, fat decisions, the life-changing ones, they should be tough. And with this one, those fears were what almost held me back from what I knew was the perfect job for me.
Those fears were unwarranted. Credibility is about being trusted and believed in. Making the choice I did didn’t make me any less trustworthy, and may even have had the opposite effect. I can intelligently discuss comparisons in the products, workflows and methods of marketing because I know them first-hand, not because I read a competitive analysis report somewhere.
As for losing friends, I realized that some people who I called friends had only seen me as a channel for their personal or professional purposes. It is a tough lesson, but so valuable. My social network of friends and colleagues has continued to grow, and I now see a whole other side to the industry that I didn’t before. The truth is, to most people, it doesn’t and shouldn’t matter what logo is on my business card. My mission has always been, and continues to be, that I want to be the resource to others that I wished I had as I fought the battles as a bookkeeper and entrepreneur. I don’t want any bookkeeper or accountant to feel like they are struggling alone in their business and with their clients. I want to partner with them and enable them with the tools they need to be successful, maybe even influencing the tool-builders along the way.
I’ve been a singer my whole life, and my first solo was at the age of about 4 in the Children’s Choir at our church. The song was “Bloom Where You’re Planted”. Gigantic, bright pink flower petals surrounded my face as I sang. I don’t remember much of it anymore, except for that line and a little of the melody. The message is to thrive, grow, or shine, wherever you are. I never could have guessed I’d be where I am today, in a national role for a massive global software company, but I do know that I wouldn’t be here without all the experiences, challenges, relationships, ups and downs, along the way. I don’t have this all figured out yet and I still have so much to learn, but six months in and I’m still ecstatic about my job, the colleagues I have the pleasure of working with and learning from, the company I believe in, and the accountants and bookkeepers I get to talk to day in and day out.
If you feel that you aren’t quite where you need to be, or that you never thought you’d be where you are right now, I encourage you to continue growing and thriving, blooming where you’re planted. Realize that this experience is preparing you for something amazing to come that you would not be able to achieve unless you were where you are right now. And if you need to wear gigantic, bright pink flower petals around your head as a reminder, so be it.