I havenâ€™t made it a secret that I am considering leaving the consulting lifestyle and going back to work for a larger company.
I have spent the last few weeks talking to two companies â€“ they are quite different in what they produce, but they are dramatically different in how they have approached me as a candidate.
For this post, I will call them â€œCoAâ€ and â€œCoBâ€.
CoA I met with twice before they showed me where my office would be, told me what the salary/bonus package would be, and shared with me the â€œallowanceâ€ I would have to â€œdecorateâ€ my office (hefty!)
CoA made an offer on the second visit and have called me three times since the last visit even though I told them I would not be available until the end of this month. They want me to feel wanted, I guess.
I never met anyone technical at CoA that would work for me â€“ not a single one. Instead, I met with the people I would work for. And I met the person who would be my administrative assistant (unless I preferred to replace her).
CoB has a completely different strategy â€“ I have met with the people that might be working for me (but nothing was discussed about that). Nobody showed me an office (except for the one we met in, which was shared by at least two of the senior players). We never spoke of position, title, salary, or benefits.
We talked about how we can make a better business out of what is already a promising business. We talked about how I might help make that happen â€“ not what my role would be, but what my contributions might be.
CoB hasnâ€™t offered me anything at this point â€“ except:
- The potential to play a significant role in their operations.
- The ability to work closely with senior and junior people as equals â€“ all with a goal of building something better.
- A chance to learn a set of technologies that I have a passing knowledge of, but no real expertise in.
- The chance to help build a team â€“ not just manage employees.
- An opportunity to make significant contributions at a very high level.
I canâ€™t help but to hope that things work out and I end up at CoB. CoA is â€œsafeâ€ â€“ it is an assured paycheck. It is a position where plenty of heads would fall before mine were things to go poorly. CoA offers guaranties, and perks, and benefits.
CoB offers something more compelling â€“ a challenge.
Donâ€™t settle for a paycheck â€“ fight for the opportunity to fail. Opportunities that offer a significant chance of failure also offer the greatest chance of success â€“ meaningful success. Something more rewarding than just a paycheck.
I like building things. Taking over a finely run machine is not what I am best at â€“ I am best at getting an stuttering machine running smoothly. Or building the machine.
I fully expect that I will end up at CoB â€“ and that if I do not, I will not end up at CoA. It just isnâ€™t in my nature to take the easy path.
In either case, CoB has earned a lot of my respect.
CoA not so much.
CoA wants a manager.
CoB is looking for a Leader.