Professional Darwinism

One problem people of my personality type have is this love of starting things and an inability to finish them. Start new projects, blogs, businesses… anything.

I am very guilty of this, as a quick google will confirm. But recently there have been a lot of upheavels in my life and this has brought this character ‘trait’ (read: flaw) into sharp focus. It is kind of like an illness where you see every moment as having a wide blank canvas before it, enticing you to spill some paint on it. But, in truth you have about 50 canvases behind you, in various states of completion. Life is NOT a blank canvas. It is a single painting, that you can rework. Even DaVinci overpainted – started with something then covered it up, creating something new. But, the point is he was always aware of what went before.

Sometimes I think the easiest thing to do is just start something new. It’s exciting. I am a serial business-starter. (I hesitate to call myself an entrepreneur). But, whereas I do believe that a failed business can teach you almost as much as a successful one, sometimes you have to say enough is enough!

Recently I met a young guy who was driving me from the airport to my mother’s house (a very long drive indeed). He is in his mid 20s. I asked him how he got to be driving this bus and he told me of the path his career had taken. And I was impressed. He had done something that few people do in any field – created a nice evolution. He went from part time with one company, to school runs, to permanent bus driver for an institution and now he was waiting to hear if he would get into the city bus line, with all the stability that offered.

I meet a lot of people, especially in the software business, who don’t do evolution as well as this bus driver. They don’t build on their skills. They don’t move from company to company, increasing their responsibility and pay. (I believe staying at one company too long is death to your upward mobility). This evolution is something I used to do well, but recently have stagnated. This 25 year old bus driver has inspired me to look at that again and see where I can go and what I can do.

Now, you may well ask what is the difference? Aren’t you just finding another justification to start a new business or something else new? No, not really. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with starting a new business. The point is to start something that builds on your knowledge, skills, experiences. Don’t start a bakery, then fail at that and start a day care centre. Take what you learned at the bakery and apply that to something slightly different. It is about evolution!, not one great leap.

So, what does all this mean? I am going to sit down, try to get an overview of my professional evolution, connect the dots and see where that line points. Throw in a handful of dreams and off I will go!

See you soon.