I’ve started writing this today for two main reasons:
1) Because I’ll forget some of what happened (and what I learned!) if I don’t write it down
2) Because it’s the top card on my Kanban board
Ok, let’s set the scene. Two years ago, I was working for a major international retailer on their forecasting algorithms. They then did a huge restructure and I got told I had to work in smoggy London.
I wanted to help out more people by using my maths skills, like I was doing in my previous role, but instead I was made into something of a Project Manager for a high-profile Android project they were running.
Whilst this might seem glamorous, I think this was the key moment at which I realised I wanted to work for myself – to be free from the whims of upper management, to have more autonomy over the maths that I apply and the problems I solve, and to be able to do that in a smart way: taking a break when I need it, not when it happens to be 6pm.
However, there was a lot of solid reasons that time wasn’t right for me to dive in yet: I had job security and decent income, and no momentum. My colleagues and Cambridge university friends were now busily climbing
their respective ladders in finance, academia, and law. If I’m honest, there was a fair amount of social pressure to conform! So instead, I left my job to work elsewhere, in a job where I helped people be empowered by Agile practices, and be helping HR be smarter and more data-driven about their people-processes. I really enjoyed the role: the things happening in this space are super interesting.
Regrettably, there were a number of things that I couldn’t reconcile with my previous employer that were deal breakers for me:
– I wasn’t really using my maths to help people (though maybe that may have been possible later)
– Prohibitive clauses in the employment contract, stopping me from helping anyone “on the side”. I even had to get approval to be a Trustee of a charity…
– If I was bashing my head against a wall, I couldn’t do the smart thing and go out for run during the day
Please don’t think I’m complaining about my previous employers! On many things my previous employer was awesome. Awesome enough that I enjoyed my time there for over a year despite my longing for genuine autonomy and impact.
Now you’ve got the background, my next post will cover more on how my journey actually started.