So, what is the Journey? The Journey is exploring new paths. The Journey is opening new doors. The Journey is creating opportunities. The Journey is growing a business. The Journey is launching new ventures. The Journey is a mid-life career transition. The Journey is risk-taking. The Journey is experiencing new feelings. The Journey is managing new kinds of stress. The Journey is doing what you have seen many people do but was afraid to do it yourself.
All my life I felt the need to go against the grain. When I was young, I was generally going with the flow, but I have always been interested in the activities that were the opposite of what was popular. I have never enjoyed following sports or playing them for that matter. In band I played the Tuba. As a youth I played Dungeons and Dragons. My wife and I met in an Medieval recreation organization, which we still participate in today.
So when I selected a career, I decided to become obsessed with something that no one I knew had ever heard of before: City Management. There I was again, going against the grain. I became interested in this profession after discovering that I took pride and pleasure in supervising others during one my summer jobs. When sharing this experience with other, I was advised that I would be a good candidate for something known as “management.” To compliment this, I had been attending college and earning my Bachelors in Political Science. After completing a course in Public Administration and learning about how government operates (at the Federal and State level), I asked the professor and said, “is there a profession where you can be a manager at the city level?” He replied, “of course, it’s known as City Management.” He then gave me a slip of paper which allowed me to become a member of the International City/County Management Association. That year was 2001.
From that year until 2017, I pursued a career in City Management and I loved it! I obtained my MPA in Urban Management from Northern Illinois University, one of the top rated schools in the country for City Management. I worked internships in four different suburbs in Chicagoland. I started as a Management Analyst in Public Works in a suburb of Chicago and advanced quickly to the role of Assistant Village Manager. I then became a Village Administrator (similar to a City Manager) of a Chicagoland collar county community.
After a short time as Administrator I spent some time to reflect upon my career trajectory. As a part of this reflection process, I realized that I could not think of someone that had been in the role of City Manager and became an independent consultant and entrepreneur at the half-way mark of their career. Most professionals in my industry become consultants as an encore career having retired on a public pension. There I was again, going against the grain. Making a career decision that is not the norm.
As many can imagine this is both and exciting and frightening prospect. It’s one that many successful people talk about as the moment that changes their path in life and causes them to find a new calling. Something that drives them in a new direction, allowing them to reach new heights.
So that is my Journey. That is what I am doing now and this blog, this website, this entire business is all centered around setting new goals, trying new things, and discover how someone with a public sector background can be successful in the private sector.