I was 21 years old when the recruitment consultant asked me, ‘Is there anywhere you wouldn’t want us to send your CV?’

She sounded surprised when I said yes, followed quickly by the word ‘banks.’

I really don’t know how I came up with that response. My guess is that my young self knew something I didn’t.

When I was 30 years old, I faced a dilemma. I came to crossroads in my career. I was leaving my job in consulting to explore the world of industry.

I had three job offers, two were in writing and one verbal. Two of the offers were from top banks while one was from an unknown company.

The bank offer was almost double my current salary. The unknown firm tried but not as much 😀.

The bank was offering me an assistant manager grade reporting directly to the Head of HR.

The unknown firm was offering me the Head, Human Capital position.

I remember calling my friend, Udu Ovbiagele (sure he doesn’t remember) to discuss my options.

I remember him asking me the following question.

‘Do you want to be a small fish in a big pond or do you want to be a big fish in a small pond?’

His analogy clinched it for me. This was easy I thought. I was clear that I wanted to be in a senior management position by the age of 30, that had been my career goal. I was sure I will rather be a big fish in a small pond, so I chose to join the unknown company called Interswitch.

Again, I just never really saw myself working for a bank. There’s this informality and creativity I cherish that I believed traditional banks or organisations couldn’t offer me. I don’t like feeling institutionalised, I generally do not conform.’

Why am telling you this story?

  1. It’s always good to have career goals with timelines, be it age based or timeline based. A goal without a timeline is simply a wish. Envision your future.
  2. Be clear on what you want for your career and if you still struggle for clarity, then be clear about what you don’t want. Know thy self. Be clear on what you like and what you don’t like. Somewhere between the knowledge of what you want and what you don’t want, you will find your happy place. Don’t set yourself up.
  3. The unknown company can become the known company. Just google Interswitch’s current value, since hitting $1B valuation in 2019.
  4. Have intelligent and wise people you can call when you have important decisions to make.
    Wishing you, all the very best.
    Have a productive week.
    Your thoughts?

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