A new job, a new opportunityPosted: April 8, 2011 Filed under: Work | Tags: career, IBM, juniper, persona, personal 43 Comments
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.