Is a Good Career Accidental or Intentional?

by


I accepted a Zoom call with a college senior recently. He wanted to understand how I had navigated my career to reach the position I’m in today. He had looked at my LinkedIn profile and assumed I had made a series of calculated career moves to get to my current position. I shared with him that this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Here’s my truth.

I did not intend to major in Computer Science. I was planning to be a math teacher and my advisor suggested a CS route. After finding a few CS classes surprisingly fun and challenging, I switched my major — even though I had no idea what I’d do with it.

I never intended to be a consultant. My boyfriend suggested I apply for an internship at Accenture. Despite my flub in telling the hiring manager I absolutely didn’t want to go into consulting full-time, he saw potential in me and offered me the job anyway. I loved that internship and, as a result, went into consulting full-time. 

I never intended to be entrepreneurial, but after growing weary of the travel, I took a position with a small startup consulting firm as a stopgap until I figured out what was next. During this time, I realized that the community of growing a company was what I’d been missing and also discovered my love of technology strategy work.

I never intended to start my own company. That sounded risky and crazy. But I’d gotten clearer about what mattered to me, and when my best friend asked me to join him in creating a different kind of consulting firm, it was the easiest and fastest decision I’ve ever made. I had no idea then how the company would grow and evolve, but I knew we would work collaboratively to solve problems that improve people’s lives. That felt aligned with what really mattered to me.

I’m a total believer in the power of intention. Still, when I look at my career to date, it wasn’t an intention to study technology, become a consultant, or become an entrepreneur that got me to where I am today — it was my interest in learning new things and my openness to new paths when an unexpected opportunity came along. It was the mentors I’ve had along the way who have helped me see new possibilities for what I could do. It was staying true to what mattered to me.

Back to the college senior. I told him on our Zoom call that my career was more accidental than intentional, but in thinking about it, it might have been driven by purpose more than I’d realized along the way.

Looking forward as I look back, I’m going to let myself off the hook for not having it all figured out. Perhaps because my top talent in StrengthsFinder is “Futuristic”, I always want to have a crystal-clear vision for everything. I believe in intention, but I also want to approach my own career, and this company we are building, with curiosity. As I support others in their journeys, I want to help them discover and uncover possibilities they may not see yet.

READ MORE

Shifting Perspectives: 3 Learnings From a 3-Day Training

Shifting Perspectives: 3 Learnings From a 3-Day Training

About a week ago, I completed the second live (virtual) training in the process of becoming a Certified Professional Coach through iPEC. Once again, my mind was blown! It reinforced for me that virtual workshops can, and do, work, and, in a lot of ways, I prefer them...

read more
Finding My Work-Life Balance

Finding My Work-Life Balance

In my previous post, I told the story of how I got back into consulting after becoming a mom. All of the diverse experiences I had during that journey have helped me to find my work-life balance by… Defining Boundaries “Go home,” my first boss said 12 years back —...

read more
How I Got Back to Work After Being a Full-Time Mom

How I Got Back to Work After Being a Full-Time Mom

I Landed My Dream Job Throwback to 2014, I had completed my MBA, landed my dream job as a consultant, and was hoping that my new consulting career would exponentially ramp up my career growth for the next 5 years. This would position me to take on critical decision...

read more
Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

In August of this year, as part of our annual company meeting, our team at Thought Ensemble participated in the foundational session of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training led by Dr. Nika White, IOM, CDE (she/her/hers). One of the most meaningful moments...

read more
Finding Your Organization’s Magic Pixie Dust

Finding Your Organization’s Magic Pixie Dust

It is often said that organizational culture is like a fog — it is all around us; it impacts our ability to see, to move quickly, and to deliver; but we cannot quite put our finger on it. Indeed, some organizations see their culture as a byproduct of operations,...

read more
We’ve Refreshed Our Brand!

We’ve Refreshed Our Brand!

Why have we refreshed our brand, you ask? Well, as we have grown and matured as an organization, we felt that our previous brand elements no longer represented us as well as they could. You see, we founded Thought Ensemble back in 2008 to help companies better compete...

read more
Thought Ensemble’s Purpose — Inspired in 2020

Thought Ensemble’s Purpose — Inspired in 2020

I recently wrote about how company purpose is being tested and inspired by all the events of 2020. This topic is very real for us at Thought Ensemble. We’ve been thinking a lot about what really matters as we’ve navigated the...

read more
How 2020 Is Testing and Inspiring Corporate Purpose

How 2020 Is Testing and Inspiring Corporate Purpose

In August 2019, the Business Roundtable rewrote their statement of corporate purpose. I followed this with significant interest being that I have never forgotten the debates about corporate purpose in business school almost two decades ago. We were taught that the...

read more
Why Purpose-Driven Organizations May Struggle With Change

Why Purpose-Driven Organizations May Struggle With Change

I love working with companies who really want to make a difference, beyond just making money for their shareholders. I mean, making money is fun and all, but it is even more rewarding to join in on a just cause. Plus, as this HBR article explains, companies who have...

read more