Posts Tagged ‘Career’

I’ve written a new guest post for 101 Fundraising. Take a read here.


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Before I left school in Toronto, I remember a good friend mentioning to me that he had considered making the move to London when he graduated but had decided that it was better to start out in Toronto as a big fish in a small pond (more or less) than to go to such a big city where you’re a complete unknown. At the time, I told him casually that the idea didn’t bother me and my heart was set on the UK. I barely thought twice about the comment.

The other day, I thought about this conversation again and came to the realization that I actually love being a small fish in a big pond. I always have and I’ve always thrived in that position. I love the challenge of being the new person. I love making first impressions and meeting new people. And I love learning. I’ve always been happiest in a company where everyone else knew more than me. I look up to everyone and trust everyone. I’ve ashamedly acted impatient and cranky in positions where there were newer people who knew less.

I’ve been here in London for only two and a half months and have just been hired into my third position. And although I’ve technically been moving up the ladder in terms of permanence and responsibility, I’ve actually just moved departments each time. I’m still sitting in the most junior position in my new job. I’m happy with the situation but I do wonder what this contentment means. Now that I’ve noticed my small-fish-big-pond preference, how will this affect my career as I get older? Will I move up into management roles? Am I built to lead? Frankly, the idea scares me at the moment.

I may tell myself that being the new person is a challenge but maybe I’m just avoiding the real challenge of expectation and responsibility. I did feel like there were expectations of me in Toronto. There were none of me here. I met a lot of incredible people last year who said a lot of kind things about my potential. I told myself that moving half way across the world was taking a big risk but maybe the real risk would have been sticking around and trying to live up to those expectations. Maybe I’ve just been playing it safe.

Perhaps being a small fish is less about being humble and more about a lack of confidence. I’m hoping I’m just the kind of person who takes a while to get comfortable and confident enough to be the big fish, but that eventually, I’ll get there. I’ve always thought that may be the case but have never really been anywhere long enough to test the theory.

What kind of fish are you most comfortable being?

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