The importance of digital presence and serendipity
Posted May 25, 2014on:
I announced yesterday that I was leaving NIE. I would like to elaborate on my reasons and hint at what I am planning on doing next.
Like some of my colleagues, I have received job offers by headhunters over the last few years. I have been asked to set up or lead the equivalent of CeL both locally and overseas. I always said no because I felt that my mission in NIE was not complete. Individually, those pull factors were not strong enough to convince me to leave.
Over the last few years, I have also received numerous requests from schools, educational outfits, and training institutes to provide workshops, talks, and an assortment of consultations. Not only was there a greater need for my services “out there”, there was also a greater appreciation for them. Collectively, these pull factors became stronger over time.
When my schedule allowed, I took leave to provide free or paid services to these organizations. My approach was always to first take the time to listen to my clients and then to meet their needs instead of their wants.
This logical and human process of looking and listening before leaping was gratifying to me. I think that the people I worked with also appreciated the extra effort I took (and still take).
So the job offers and approaches for consultation came my way without active seeking on my part. Often I would be found quite quickly after this blog or my tweets appeared high up in Google search results. This was not due to dumb luck, but to years of my leaving digital footprints and valuable artefacts for people to find for free. I attribute this daily strategy as key to being found for ad hoc work.
But it might be serendipity by human design that has resulted in job and career offers. I can recall at least two major ones.
In my first year as Head of CeL, I was headhunted by an agency in New Zealand for a position in Australia. The headhunter had asked a faculty member from one of my alma maters in the USA for recommendations and I was top of the list.
The latest offer happened just last Friday. As the details are not yet cast in stone, I shall be a bit vague.
The connections were closer to home but the prospects more global. The offer was very exciting and I told the headhunter that the job description seemed to be written with me in mind. I am very open to this option as it will allow me to 1) follow my passions, 2) build on what I have started as a thought leader and strategic implementer, and 3) wield influence in a much wider circle.
Whether the offers were ad hoc or longer term and whether they were a result of having a digital presence or serendipity, there were clear human links. By this I mean being caring and connected enough so that the right opportunities come my way. If you look at your own work life and find joy in it, you will probably find this to be true too.