In December 2020, during a global pandemic, I decided to leave my job. I had been with my employer for 15 incredible years, and it was time to explore new possibilities in leadership and design. Notwithstanding, it was a really tough decision.
By today's standards, fifteen years is a long time for anyone to stay within a single company. I was lucky, and in my experience, no two years were exactly alike. Joining only a year after the company's inception (and several weeks after they had moved out of a partners' home basement), I had the opportunity to help a successful business grow quite literally from the ground up.
Every year afforded such incredible opportunity, learning, and growth. My own development closely matched that of the company. I 'tacked-and-jibed' with every early pivot as we transitioned from product design to service design, building deep experience in healthcare. Similarly, as we grew our team and range, I became fluent in new capabilities and helped build our company's very own way of working and offerings. Today, the business is a ~50 person consulting firm whose work spans customer research, service and customer touchpoint design, and organizational transformation, boasting a client roster that includes Fortune 500 companies. Notably, my time spent with the company was made all the more incredible by the cast of people I had the good fortune to work with. I can only hope that I can find a crew who are as hard-working, talented, and kind in the next stages of my career.
But why leave? I mean, I had an excellent thing going on as a senior leader within a creative business, collaborating with a talented team daily. Well, in truth, I tend to think that most careers can be defined by 5-7 year increments or 'horizons.' Each has its own terrain, and growth is rarely experienced as a steady-state. Every horizon should include a healthy mix of challenging ascents that push you out of your comfort zone, rolling meadows for building mastery, and of course, switchbacks for codifying learning and expertise. Looking ahead to my next 15 years, I knew I needed to find new challenges. I'm excited by the possibility of finding a new horizon to explore.
For the moment, I'm taking on smaller, exploratory projects that will help me pivot into new types of roles and areas of design practice. I'm collaborating with interesting people, sharing my experience, and finding new ways to be relentlessly useful. I'm exploring new roles too, and aim to ultimately find a great fit in a full-time position where I can lead talented teams, work cross-functionally within an organization, and deliver excellent, digitally-enabled customer experiences.