Chicken & Egg

The chicken and egg story of our career continues. I've been wondering how to have the chicken (personal growth) and the egg (security/safety/mind space) at the same time.

The scariest thing about corporate life is getting too comfortable too quickly. Complacency creeps in when there is security and safety. The cushion that could help you accelerate your expertise and double down on strengths dulls it down as inertia sets in.

I remember a beautiful analogy shared by a senior colleague (and friend) when we discussed energy and intensity in our product teams.

"Karthi, in a chase, a hare runs for life and the lion runs for supper. Tell me, who will run with more intensity?"

The answer was obvious. No wonder startups have that intensity and urgency to pivot, make bold moves, change minds, and ship at a scorching pace. The fear of not being able to pay next month's bills keeps them on their toes. The minute a startup grows into a well-funded cushiony environment, where there are more people for everything, complacency creeps in. In that case, they are not running for life; they're chasing supper. This effect only multiplies in a large corporation. My empathy for large corporations is only increasing day by day.

As people in large cushiony teams, enjoy the safety/security/pace but also know that your rate of growth is reducing drastically as the fire inside is dulling down.

Even when the environment is not intense, you can keep the fire within you. You can pick and choose high-impact efforts, say no to unproductive meetings, focus on business and not busyness, and boldly do the right things. It takes a lot of work to put your foot down and say no. Till you say it, someone will keep deciding what you should be doing.

Our career is our responsibility.

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