You know what the hardest thing was about leaving Consulting? The fear that I would have to drop the blog.
I knew that I would not be able to stay in touch with technology, there is just too much going on. My conclusion, back when I left consulting, was that enough people out there have picked up the baton, and the world of Analytics will clearly survive without me.
Here is what really surprised me, though: how quickly I lost touch!
At some point in September, weeks after I had completely transitioned over, someone asked me a question regarding Analytics that I couldn’t answer off the top of my head, or, it struck me, at all.
I had the frustrating feeling that I should know, and maybe had known, at some point in the past, but I was utterly unable to remember.
And there it was, the certainty that it was over.
By now, a couple of weeks later, I am at the point of wondering whether I should uninstall Visual Studio Code? I won’t need it any more, will I?
It had always been obvious how important my daily work as a consultant had been for the selection of topics for the blog. Some topics followed my learning curve (think DTM & Launch), some followed the development of specific projects or even the development of other people. There are traces of Urs and Till all over the place, for example.
But what I hadn’t seen was how indispensable the daily work was for the content of the blog.
I feel, now, that a blog is like the tip of an iceberg.
There is a ton of knowledge underneath what is written, some of it not very explicit, nor accessible at will. But it is there, and it supports the things that do end up in postings.
And when you stop working with all that, the brain (at least my brain) puts it into a box, neatly, and locks that box.
Other boxes open, of course.
I was on a call, listening to a bunch of Technical Account Managers discuss their mode of work last week.
There were aspects in there very close to what Consultants would say, themes of “responsibility”, “good practice”, “where does my remit end?”
When I was a consultant, I often said things that were not necessarily covered by my mandate in a given project, but when I felt that it helped, I did say it. Those things, as much as we like to say “experience”, or “deep knowledge”, were opinions, really. Informed, sure, but opinions nonetheless.
I think that as a consultant, I was right expressing them, especially if I made sure people understood that I was, indeed, expressing opinions.
The same goes for TAMs, maybe even more so. Their job is not about projects, it is about helping customers operate a complex zoo of tools, requirements, environments, stakeholders, and whathaveyous, as smoothly as possible. Keep the thing rolling. Point out when some oil is needed, a tyre needs some air, or when a wheel should be changed, so to speak.
There is potentially a lot of opinion in there!
And while I was listening to the TAMs discuss, I realised that I was forming an opinion about other people using their opinions. How meta!
I am far from saying something stupid like “oh, wow, I am thinking like a manager, now!”, but what I do think is that this is simply another aspect of work, and of customer relationships, that I am now turning towards.
And so, rather than framing this as a loss, I should think about it as a change. New is good! It is interesting. It opens up other facets, whole new fields!
I am not quite there yet, especially as I write this article. I am feeling a lot of nostalgia, maybe some grief, mostly for the people I got to know in the context of this entire wild ride. (By the way, English is great! Did you know the word ‘desiderium’? A feeling of loss or grief for something lost. Wow!)
All the Fish
It has been a wild ride! I never, ever, expected the blog to take off like it did, or the amount of absolutely brilliant people I would get to know because of it.
If any of you think about doing something like this, please do! Know that it is time-consuming, arduous, solid work, and that it can, at times, be stressful, but do it!
Go out there, find what you are good at, then help people get better at it, too! You will see how your help transforms others, and you will see people return the favour.
I think this is how our field, any field, grows.
When I started this blog, it was to fill a need. I had found a very small and very cosy niche.
I discussed this with Julien, recently, and he thinks the niche has grown quite a lot. I agree with that, and it means that what I said, above, is true: people have chimed in. The niche is now chugging along quite nicely, to mangle my metaphors.
I wish you all a great time in this awesome niche, and all the success you deserve. Thank you, all you beautiful people, for everything!