I found a great article recently through a LinkedIn post titled “Is My CareerOn Track At Age 30” which had some significance for me.
When I was in my 20’s the age 30 held something for me. My first goal was a financial one where I was determined to be earning a dollar amount as my base salary by the time I was 30. This was a benchmark for me for whatever reason (I have no idea or good reason for it other than that’s what it was). My second goal was to run my own business.
As I got closer to 30 and not closer to my goals I started to look at what I had to do to get there and beyond.
My father had given me a couple of pieces of advice when I started work:
1) be loyal, work hard and you will be looked after; and
2) if you want to get somewhere you need to do it yourself, take charge
So it was with hitting 30 and the second piece of my father’s advice that I left my 10.5 year secure employment (where I believe I had been very loyal and hard working) to take the chance on a start-up even though I had to re-mortgage my house with our second child on the way. I am fairly risk adverse and to this day unsure how I managed to take the jump!
As it turned out, within 1 year of starting my business I had achieved the salary level I had set at age 30. I was happy with myself that I had taken affirmative action to achieve both goals.
Fast forward to when I was approaching 40. I had sold my shares in the business I had started and was running the same company for a US based company. Whilst the previous 6 years as CEO had seen good growth with CAGR for Revenue at 31% and EBITDA 24%, I could see the writing on the wall for a decline as our legacy services were being replaced and the investment started we required to reinvent ourselves was drying up.
I didn’t want to be running a business that wasn’t growing so it was time to be in charge of my own destiny again and start the next chapter of my career. Was it coincidence that this was at 40 when I then joined carsales.com? I don’t think it is a coincidence either that my boss at carsales was my boss for the time I was with Reynolds & Reynolds (see the first piece of advice my father gave me).
Does this mean that over the next few years I need to start looking at my next career change? You never say never and I do have new goals and expectations but given the passion I have for role and the company and given the short, medium & long term goals we have in place, I don’t think so.
I think the two pieces of advice dad gave me are applicable to most; and they can be interpreted in different ways. At the end of the day attitude and aptitude overrides skills and for me, these two things are the essence of what the advice means.