Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Moving from Coach to Player Is Harder Than It Sounds

I’ve been fortunate enough to have several successful careers. I retired as an 06 from the Army Reserve and did quite well in High Tech Marketing/Market Research/Customer Support. Subsequent to parting with my last full time employer at the end of 2006 I’ve been able to grow my legal career to include general counsel, part time judge work and admission to the Bar of the US Supreme Court.

Photo Source:

Given all that experience I thought it would be relatively easy to move from coach and kibitzer to player. Not quite. When you are senior in your career you have obligations and principles that have served you well over the years you learn not to ignore them.

First and foremost is the obligation to family. While military personnel often have to sacrifice their family life for the good of the service, that’s not the case with civilians – we can pick and chose where to spend our time. Putting my family first has been a cardinal principle for me. Obligations and promises that are made are kept.

A second cardinal principle is that an organization that doesn’t seem to have its act together while trying to sell you something or recruit you, probably won’t deliver exceptional customer service after the sale or be a very supportive employer. While this may not be true all of the time, history has proven this to be the case more often than not.

For the past several weeks I’ve been in the process of investigating OCONUS contractor jobs. While there’s no question about my ability to do the job, , I’m no longer able to just pick up and leave my normally staid life for 7 day work weeks in a hostile zone.

If I’m going to go through the mental and emotional machinations of considering this drastic kind of move, it behooves the organization trying to get me to do so to act with certainty, have all their facts, be consistent and generally make the idea more appealing and the process responsive and transparent.

When an organization abruptly changes its mind, even for the best of reasons, this means, as my Dad used to say “you’re just a number”. Well, as Patrick McGoohan said “I am not a number, I am free man”. (See opening sequence of the Prisoner:

My opportunity to move to the playing field is gone for now, but look forward to continued kibitzing.

No comments: