December 23, 2005

half-n-half

I was thinking today that I've spent half of my 20 years in the workplace within traditional companies, and half with startups.

I've spent 6 living the agency life, 12 on the corporate side, and 2 solo.

The truth is, I don't know any agency types who have never worked on the corporate side. That's a good thing. I'm not sure you can operate within a professional services environment without having fought the good fight on the corporate side. Hint: If you're working with a PR firm, make sure the people on your team have walked in your shoes, at least for a little while.

I also had a one-year partnership (I put that in with the 6 agency years above) and startup adventure last year, which is a long story, and one I prefer to tell over drinks and not in the Blogger window. Some things are like that.

During my years on the corporate side at Kodak and then Systems Techniques (bought on up the food chain all the way to IBM), I was always frustrated that things weren't moving fast enough, that not enough people were putting in 100 percent, that deadlines were far too long, and in fact, I'm sort of ashamed to admit, I used to say: "We could finish ANY project in one day if we just stayed here overnight and did it."

Yes, I expected the people in my group to stay over. I was there too, but still. Was that really me? Did I really live that life? That was all before the Internet became my workplace. It seems like it could have been 30 years ago.

How many overnights have I spent at the office in my jobs at Kodak, at STI, at Ketchum. I had a blanket and bedroom slippers under my desk for six months once. And I used them. Our developers had pillows under theirs at STI. And they used them.

That was when work was as much a family as a workplace.

It was also before I was a mom, and that's not coincidental.

I am so thankful the connections and collaboration made possible by the Internet, because that is what's allowed me to stay home with my daughter for the last 8 years, to be a mom who doesn't have to sleep over at the office or take weeks-long business trips. I still pull an all nighter at least once a week, but I'm here to make breakfast when it's done, to put half-and-half in my coffee and to take her to school when she gets up, and I'm here when the bus comes home.

I am blessed to be living in this time. Call it Web 1.0, call it Web 2.oh!, call it whatever. My life would look so different without the net that I'm not sure I'd recognize myself. The last 8 years would have been impossible. My kid's life, already, even at 8, would have been completely different if I couldn't do what I do here.

And when you stop and think about that fact being replicated across mom after mom after mom after mom, it's a pretty amazing thing. Maybe even worthy of a ".0"

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1 comments:

Jon Husband said...

absolutely ... it's life-changing. And just think, for most of us it's only been during the past decade or so.

What will another decade bring ? Should be pretty darned interesting, for better and worse.

And I think you're absolutely right as well, in suggesting that your kid's whole next 80 years will be different (chances of better about 95%, imo) because you were around so much more.