My first “Ask Me Anything” (part 5)

This is it, the last part of my, first ever, AMA session. I just got five questions but, honestly, I wasn’t expecting that many. It was a real pleasure and I’m grateful for those that spent some of their time thinking about their questions and, of course, to those that have been following this AMA session. Please find here the first, second, third and fourth questions. Now, time to answer the last question:

Ivan wrote a long text with several questions. I will try to break it down in smaller chunks.

I’ve been with my own company for 11 years.
In these 11 years I have done everything that there is to do in the management and operation of the company. I started as a Web Developer, I interviewed hundreds of people and hired 60 people over the years, I wrote the contracts’ draft, washed the office floor, set up and dismantled furniture, organized paperwork for accounting, did money collections, create and manage digital marketing campaigns, and so many things, a digital agency that has already grown and has already declined because of bad contracting and bad paying customers (because in Portugal reigns the culture of not paying or paying as late as possible). I feel that my role in the job market is little more than an office manager or else what I have actually been in the last few years, which is to be business developer, commercial, account, and project manager. I’m not looking for work or closing the company, but I wanted to know what my value in the job market is.

Ivan Criner da Cunha (General Manager at Curiosidade Agency)

Ivan and I, we are acquainted. We talked face to face a couple times, mostly about technology, and we chatted more often online about life issues. Truly, I believe he wears the entrepreneur hat by nature (speaking of hats, Rui Alves did a great video about it – portuguese only). Being an entrepreneur has a big slice of risk and the beginning stages demands us to be a jack of all trades. I believe it is part of the game. Dude, someone that is doing that stuff over a decade must have gathered some serious knowledge about entrepreneurship, business, marketing, sales, and so on … that is a strong asset, no matter the outcome of that past experience – remember, you win or you learn !!

I’ve been talking to recruiters from various companies, whether they’re from you, just recruiting for IT companies, or digital agencies, or from these areas.
Everyone told me the same, that I have no specific skills for any position and that I have to specialize …
I’m only hired for account / commercial, which is not what I want to do in my professional life, although I do it “well” (in fact I do it out of necessity for being in charge of the company).
So, my question is, how to be a “does everything” and still maintain professional relevance? I’ve already taken action … I delegated some of my responsibilities and restarted programming! But gradually I begin to feel that I’m neglecting certain aspects of the company (as expected) and not taking advantage of new opportunities that I see!

Ivan Criner da Cunha (General Manager at Curiosidade Agency)

Recruiters, if they are just doing outsourcing staffing will be probably looking for people with specific skill sets to match some clients’ needs.

You said that you are a decent sales, a decent account or a decent business developer.

Probably someone with the life experience as you should be aiming for higher positions, or positions more related with management. And that would be the playground for headhunters, recruiters working to place people “permanently”.

But I’m feeling that you are seeing it as the end of line if you take that approach.

For instance, take the example of KWAN, the staffing business unit of RUPEAL Group. Depending on what you are looking for, your background and your experience, they will try to find the right matches to propose you. That might be “permanent placement” if it is pure headhunting, or “outsourcing” if you want to be more flexible jumping from project to project, or some “nearshore project” if you want the possibility to work abroad or work for abroad from Portugal.

Getting back to the technical side is not a problem, with time you will take the grips of it, again. It will be a matter of time and patience.

However, it looks like you are shooting everywhere in hope to hit a target, any target, or even worse, to draw a target after you hit something.

May I ask you what is your “why” ?

Why do you work?

Why do you like to do _____ ? (fill the blank with the things you enjoy the most)

Some years ago, I was also lost. I was not having any joy working for others, I tried to be an entrepreneur and the experience was, let me just say, bad. I was so lost that I even considered transforming some hobbies of mine into actual work. I never stopped to think if that would not take all the fun from those things. I mean, hobbies are hobbies, tasks that you may do in light spirit, no pressure attached. In reality I did try and I started losing the joy I have while doing those hobbies. I felt completely lost. In the meantime I did some coaching sessions with Joana Araújo Lopes, a psychologist and coach.

Wow, it was groundbreaking for me.

I learned that sometimes we need to step back, regroup, think about the learnings and try again. I started working on my “why”. It did not mean that I found my why in a decent time frame, far from it. It took me almost 4 years of internal hustle and grind, while working in a full-time job that was not demanding, nor challenging , nor rewarding. But I kept pushing in the wake of my recent find, my “Why”. Believe me, that made all the difference to endure watching the time passing by while I was search for it.

I did learn two lessons, one is that you actually should pursue your inner “why”, the other was that nothing is definite. Any decision you make while pursuing your why, any decision whatsoever, will be temporary. It may take one month, one year, half your life, but that fire that burns deep in your heart will keep burning, waiting for the next round. And dude, you are an entrepreneur !!

Keep pushing, do not give up and try to aim your vision to somewhere, anywhere, but a single target.

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