Full of beans

I think I’ve mentioned before how unremarkable it’s felt returning to work. I expected it to be momentous, which in practical terms it is. But not really otherwise. It’s a different environment from what I’m used to, and the job is a long way from my usual trade, but even so I’ve walked in the door and got into the groove without a second thought.

I’m now beginning to assert myself more. I’m on top of the job they’ve given me, and with that in mind my natural self is emerging. In general that’s confident, assertive, inquisitive, and questing. Rather than just doing the job I’ve started to look how it might be better done. At the same time it’s expressed in my personality. I push back more, question more, and in general engage more widely.

Last week I sent an email to my immediate superior listing a bunch of things I thought could be improved, including some strategic items. It was well received. I was called into a meeting to discuss with her, and another. They both agreed with what I proposed, and they’ve now lined me up to meet with the IT manager tomorrow. This could be an opportunity.

It’s an unusual environment, very uncorporate, while everyone seems pretty friendly they also protect their patch pretty closely. There’s not a lot here I would consider true ‘professional’ types like I’m used to working with in the city. It’s true, while there’s a lot who play it close to their chest there don’t seem many of the hard-core careerists. Ambition flourishes in the cut and thrust of the corporate world and amid the skyscrapers of the city. Out in the ‘burbs most seem happy to do their job and get home to their family afterwards.

The combined effect of these things is that the business seems to operate in a vertical fashion. The general focus is external, to the customers, which is fair enough, but there appears no focus at all on how the business operates internally. There is no real flow through the business, and the sort of business improvement initiatives that are normal elsewhere haven’t been implemented because there’s no real mechanism to define or execute them. For me that means potentially great opportunity, but also likely frustration.

I can see a lot of things that can be done. I have to tread carefully, but I hope to share some of that with the IT manager – especially in terms of the intranet, in integrating processes and applications, and – the big one – building a customer portal, or extranet. I don’t to step on his toes, but I suspect he’s aware of the possibilities but not empowered to do anything about them. What he doesn’t know about is my specific experience in these areas – greater, I’m certain, than anyone else in the organisation.

I’ve also been reading about the IT integration work going on here. They recently acquired another company, necessitating a lot of work in IT, among other areas. That’s right up my alley, but here I sit sidelined. They’ve got me answering phones when I’m capable of leading the project.

It might sound frustrating, but more than anything I’m energised by it. It would have been no surprise to find myself timid and uncertain venturing back into the work environment. It’s easy to question your capabilities when you’re not using them. You doubt and wonder. I know, it’s happened to me – but only in phases that I quickly pass through. Overall and in general my self-confidence seems unaffected, it may even be burgeoning just at the minute. I’m ready to go, and burning up the rubber waiting for it to happen.

The thing is that it all comes from curiosity. I’m not made for the easy job. I’m built for the challenge. Even if I’m just answering phones my mind goes searching. It’s who I am, can’t help it. I like to understand, engage, do. That’s not going to change now.

In recent times I’ve got a bit more attention professionally. I can’t do anything about it, but it’s nice to know. It all adds to the general buzz. My mind is active and I’m full of beans.

Yesterday I was reading an article on HBR. It was a fascinating article and as I read it I found myself applying the principles of it to what I’ve done before, and what I can do in the future. Understand, it’s like a puzzle I want to decipher. I want to try that and fit it in and make it work and implement the benefit. I want to reach beyond merely what’s within arm’s reach because it’s more interesting and more challenging. I want to make it work.

I’m capable of it, so I want to do it. You want to use yourself up, right? But I know there’s more to it than now. I can feel that alpha part of my self coming to the fore. I want to take a big bite out of things, and I want to lead the way. That’s what I like, I like to lead. I want to be the man. It doesn’t suit me to be a bystander and that’s just the way it is.

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