A new job, a new opportunity

I might as well get to the point. Today is my last day at IBM. I can’t express how strange it feels to write that. I’ll share more about all of this in future blog posts, but to be brief, I have decided to accept an offer from Juniper Networks in Silicon Valley.

Despite the risk of sounding like a cliché, I have to state that working for IBM has been an absolute privilege. I have a genuine affection for all the IBMers with whom I’ve worked over the last seven-and-a-half years, and I have a deep belief in the purpose and mission for which IBM stands. Last, and certainly not least, it has been a real privilege over the past few years to be responsible for the global social media strategy for the most socially connected company on earth. What more could I ask for? It has been a great experience all around and IBM has been incredibly good to me, for which I’m grateful. To the IBMers reading this, thank you so very much.

So why am I leaving? This has been the hardest decision I’ve ever made. Despite all of these great things at IBM, my wife and I ultimately felt this specific opportunity at Juniper was the right move for the long-term benefit of my family and my career. The hardest decisions in life and business are between two equally attractive choices, and this was no exception.

At Juniper, I’ll be leading their social and digital strategy across communications and marketing worldwide. It is an exciting opportunity to start anew and build from a clean slate. I’ll have more to share when I actually get on board in a few weeks, but the people I’ve met so far make me very excited for the opportunity to broaden my networks and learn from yet another group of highly innovative colleagues.

But before I set foot for my first day in Sunnyvale, I’m already faced with a big challenge: How do I now establish a new professional identity that isn’t intrinsically connected to IBM’s? No longer being an IBMer means a new chapter not only in my career, but also in my professional identity. Over the past few years I’ve spoken at dozens of conferences, given dozens of media interviews, and spoken to countless IBM clients about IBM’s social business efforts. How do I separate my domain expertise from the context of my work at IBM?

Although my social experience has been filtered through IBM’s efforts, I know that in the process I’ve acquired a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience from which to draw. So my task will be to build a professional persona that is appropriately balanced between my personal expertise and skills and my professional contexts – new and old. Both matter; it is finding the right balance that is the difficulty.

It’s going to be a lot of fun.


39 Comments on “A new job, a new opportunity”

  1. This sounds like an amazing opportunity and I wish you all the best. It was great working with you while we were both at IBM and Juniper will greatly benefit from your working knowledge of both social and the industry, not to mention great food recommendations. Congrats to you.

  2. Mauro Segura says:

    Hi, Adam. I wish all the best. I wonder how hard it was for you to decide. Anyway, this seems a really special opportunity that you can not lose. As a partner in the world of blogosphere, I send a big hug. Mauro Segura.
    Here is my blog.

    http://www.aquintaonda.blogspot.com/

  3. Jason Perlow says:

    Dude, we’re gonna miss you so much. But you’re still my main man when it comes to Taco hunting when I get out by you!

  4. Dave Winer says:

    Good luck in the new job Adam. A clean slate is always nice to have. :-)

  5. Kevin Winterfield says:

    Adam,
    It’s been great working with you. You are an innovator, diplomat and a leader. Under your leadership and direction, I’m certain we’ll see Juniper jump boldly into social media.

    Best to you and your family – and I’m certain our paths will cross in the not-to-distant future.
    – Kevin

  6. David Rittenhouse says:

    We will miss you Adam! Good luck with your new thing at Juniper Networks. And with reacculturating to the west. Surfboards. Tacos. Rollerblading to the office everyday. (-:

  7. Shaku Selvakumar says:

    Congratulations, Adam. You will be missed!

  8. Jake Parker says:

    Big congratulations! Always hard to choose between two great options, but it sounds like you’re in the right place now. Good luck with everything!

  9. Karl says:

    So, they have a better canteen than us?

    Well done, take it easy and all the best.

  10. Val says:

    Best of luck Adam! Have fun in The Valley -good Viet food up there also.

  11. Peter Anderson says:

    Adam –
    Congrats! I recommend you review “The First 90 Days” a book on accelerating one’s value added after a job transition. Beyond that -sounds like you will take a break for fun and reflection prior to starting at Juniper. If you can take 3 weeks, I recommend walking West to East across England on the “Coast to Coast” walk – great way to clear one’s mind and reconnect with your companions.
    Best,
    Peter

  12. Thanks for blazing such a trail. A lot of people are following it to some very exciting places.

  13. Vera Dias says:

    Adam: I wish you the best. And if by any chance the new job brings you back to Brazil, please, let me know. It will be great to host you here for a Feijoada. Regards. Vera

  14. Cliff Kinard says:

    Thanks for all your help and I wish you the best. Once an IBMer, always an IBMer…so don’t try to shed it all! Sounds like a great new gig at Juniper and a fit for your family. Don’t be a stranger!

  15. Ed Brill says:

    Congratulations, Adam. You have been a rockstar at IBM and will be missed. I am pleased to see that you are following the same trajectory upward, and wish you the best.

  16. David Berger says:

    So, are you moving the family from sunny SoCal? Or are you going to do the weekend commute thing?

  17. alessandro ferrari says:

    Adam, I only can say I’m honored to have worked with you, though not so much as I’d like. You’ll be missed. All the best, for you and your family. And let’s keep in touch, if you agree. A.

  18. Adam, congratulations on your new job at Juniper Networks. You’re right–once an IBMer, always an IBMer. You’ve left an indelible mark on IBM when you forged amazing paths opening up IBM to the journey of being a social business.

  19. Luis Suarez says:

    Goodness! One gets to embark on a business trip of a couple of weeks and when he comes back to “normal” bumps into shocking news, like this one! Holy smokes! This is just wonderful news, Adam! Thanks ever so much for all you have done at IBM in helping accelerate our own adoption of social software, both inside and outside, and I surely would be one of the folks who would be missing you big time! It’s been a true honour, and a privilege having worked with you over the years and I do hope we would have a chance to meet up in the carbon once again, even if it is just to embark on one of our favourite activities! Hummm, yummy!

    I am sure you will be doing just fine at Juniper and I certainly want to wish you all of the very best and hope we can meet up next time I am around on the West Coast, whenever that happens!

    Take good care and enjoy the new adventure! Sounds exciting! And, indeed, like Cliff mentioned … once an IBMer, *always* an IBMer! You will continue to be one tweet away, my friend! :-D

  20. [...] impact, I want to take a moment to wish my esteemed IBM social media colleague, Adam Christensen, a bon voyage and best of luck in his new position as the social media lead for Juniper Communications. Adam has been a shining [...]

  21. Good luck in the new gig over at Juniper – all sounds very exciting! Was (and is) always a wonderful opportunity chatting with you.

    Let me know if you want to go in search of the best burritos in the Sunnyvale area. I have some tips!

  22. Brian Ellefritz says:

    Adam,
    Very happy to see you’re traipsing more in the Silicon Valley direction, just being selfish. Would love to grab you for lunch or coffee when you head up to the Juniper HQ at some point. I’m assuming since you just relocated to SoCal you won’t uproot again and will be working remotely, but congrats on the new gig and I know your IBM colleagues have big shoes to fill.
    Cheers,
    Brian Ellefritz, SAP Global Social Media Team

  23. Camila Della Negra says:

    Adam, good luck!
    I wish all the best! It was great having you here in Brazil and if you come by some day again, let us know!

  24. [...] impact, I want to take a moment to wish my esteemed IBM social media colleague, Adam Christensen, a bon voyage and best of luck in his new position as the social media lead for Juniper Networks. Adam has been a shining social [...]

  25. Andy Piper says:

    Adam, sir, it has been an honour and a privilege. As so many of your friends have said, you WILL be missed. Your measured and sensible approach to social media has been an inspiration to me and I’ve valued your support and the opportunity to work with you.

    Juniper are lucky to have you. We’ll be in touch through the interwebz. Go light on the celebratory tacos :-)

  26. Jim Brill says:

    rock on adam, rock on. Thanks for making our projects both fun and rewarding. see you at Steamers’

  27. Hi Adam! Congratulations on the new move! It was great working with you at IBM (via sametime!!) and I really appreciate all of your advice and guidance over the last few years. When Andy P visited us in Melbourne recently we were saying what a top bloke you are and how much we appreciated you being part of the business. I’m sure you’ll have no trouble establishing your professional persona in your new role, as you’re the kind of person who listens and “gets it”. Welcome to the life of an IBM alumni. All the best – cheers!

  28. Adam – it was great working with you during your time at IBM. Best of luck in your new role and if you’re ever in NYC and on the prowl for burritos/tacos/empanadas, give a shout…

  29. Jennifer Okimoto says:

    So the upside is I’m thinking I’ll get to see you on occasion…lots of yummy food in the valley!

  30. Adam you leave quite a legacy. Wishing you continued success in your next chapter @ Juniper Networks, knowing you’ll be a star! Thankful for the opportunity to have had the chance to work along side you at IBM.

  31. Lynn Reyes says:

    Adam, such a star! Best wishes for continued success. Keep shining!

  32. Detlef Schmidt says:

    I would have decided the same. All the best for you.
    It’s very likely to see each other in California from October on.

  33. Delph says:

    Once an IBMer, always an IBMer…and that is you now joining the IBM Greater connection ! (http://www.ibm.com/ibm/greateribm/) … I wish you and your family all the very best in your new life. I’ve always been impressed by your persona of being a top dad (of so many girls) at the same dad of leading IBM to become a social business… You have been an incredible inspiration for me and I’ve valued your support. All the very best,
    @delphrb

  34. Jane Scandurra says:

    Congratulations, Adam. I felt exactly the same way as you when I decided to leave IBM in 2006. Very different experience than leaving any other big company I had worked for. It was a tough decision, but thought “if not now, when?” As they say, once an IBMer, it stays in your DNA. After all, look where I’m hanging out again?? :) We’ll miss you….. but glad we have Facebook (and your blog) to keep in touch. I wish you all the best for success and happiness in your new job.

  35. Paul Beaulieu says:

    Adam, congratulations.

    Sounds like a fantastic opportunity. Wishing you tremendous success.

    It was really wonderful to make your acquaintance here and I echo everyone that you will be very much missed.

  36. Karla says:

    Guess I’m a little late to the party but wanted to wish you all the best at Juniper. Stay in touch!

  37. Congratulations Adam! Sounds like a commencement for you and just the right time of the year, isn’t it? Glad to hear that you recognize the separation of Adam at IBM from Adam, social media professional extraordinaire. Go ahead and share this process on your blog. It’s a universal phenomenon that needs to be more fully addressed. Think of all the people who use their work email exclusively and what happens when they turn in their blue badge. Talk about turmoil! It has the same impact as an M and A has on organizational operations.
    No one is a “job.” You are the talent. Now proceed ahead and be sure to separate your personal and professional selves going forward so that any future transitions will not wreck havoc on every aspect of your being and personal identity. BTW- I only have your IBM email so am happy to have found you here! Enjoy the changes, the challenges and the new relationships. If you need any help or referrals, please don’t hesitate to send a shout across anytime for anything. I’ve been building online personas across LI, Twitter, FB and the blogosphere. Would be interesting to compare doing this at the corporate level ( you) vs constructing individual ( JobWhiz) webinalities for executives.

  38. teresitaabaykrueger says:

    It’s been a year now since you left IBM – how has it been? Where are you now?

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