There are things that you need to experience in order to shape how you will pursue your future. These things tend to teach you a few lessons along the way, and as we grow in life, as well as in our careers – we learn the true differences between what we think matters, and what truly does. This is quality versus quantity.
A few months ago I left a very stable company and job. These days, most people would look at me half-crazy, as a good job does not come along very often – and there are a number of people I know who have been driving themselves crazy interviewing and applying, hoping to find something like I had. After ten years working in corporate environments, I had grown beyond the eager-eyed, dress-suit-wearing, New York City crusader. My concept of work and life balance had changed, as had my long-term career goals. I decided to take a chance at a new business opportunity with some risks, and jump… and fast forward to now, where I am enjoying learning the in’s and out’s of managing a business that deals with a fast-paced, technology-rich field.
What is the point of me sharing this? Recently my younger sister took on her third job. Out of 3 sisters in the family (her twin is the youngest), she is the driven, go-getter. I admire her zest and energy, and see myself seven years ago, that eager-eyed, New York City commuter. As she told me about her new job acquisition, I was surprised to hear myself warn her not to take on too much on her plate – and remember to give herself time to enjoy being 23 as well as time to mentally give herself a break, as she is already toppling a 50-hour work week. This reaction was a glaring example of how prior experience had modified my career vision over time.
Quality, and how it attaches itself to one’s life, matters more than the quantity of something. Take for example having a dollar bill in one hand, and 100 pennies in the other. Now think of it in terms of a client or customer – would you rather manage 100 “pennies’, or look after one dollar? Dedicating services to 100 customers is going to be rather time-consuming, versus having one customer you dedicate time and effort into. Having numerous customers isn’t a bad thing with a good team and time management plan in place, but as you begin a business, it is important to understand when and how to assess a client, customer, project, etc. and discern if working together makes sense for both parties to be successful. Most times, it can. Some times – it may not. We’ll save this for Part 2.
Going back to the conversation with my sister: I was hoping to show her that after my career experiences, it was the quality of the work produced, not the quantity of hours worked, that was important. While my younger sister (who plans to finish college soon) considered hours worked to be a gauge of her work success, I wanted her to consider her more important jobs, those which fulfilled her area of interest – were enough. If she focuses on them, and not necessarily adding more hours of work into her life with a side job, she would be doing herself more of a service.