Monday, January 01, 2007

And now for something completely new ...

I don't typically make New Year's resolutions. This isn't one, but it is a new year, and it's time for a change.

Not in acting, per se. The change on the acting front (God willing), will be a leapfrog of greater, more productive, more amazing things this year than 2006. It will be continuing this ride with the incredible people I've been blessed to meet in the Biz, and meeting new incredible ones. Doing more work.

But the change I'm talking about is on the toy job front.

Bear with me for a little bit, and please realize this is not about self-aggrandizement.

And when I say toy job, I don't mean to demean the non-acting stuff. I give that stuff my focus on passion like I do other stuff in life. For the most part, I don't know how not to work hard at stuff I'm given to do.

Though I've been blessed with amazing opportunities over the last decade, I've ostensibly been in the same vertical market all that time, and I feel it's time for a change.

I'm really good at managing software/programs/services. I've migrated large-scale systems from one functional group to another, from one geography to another. I've worked in Rome (Italy, not Texas) and in mainland China. I've got software patents. I've built teams from the ground up, and said goodbye to them when I've taken on other opportunities (or they have). I've learned that my management style is professional and playful and collaborative and collegial. And that it's important -- for me -- to err on the side of honesty, but not transparency; diplomacy, but not politicking.

I've learned what's important to me in my management style is building people, rather than building things. I've learned to fight good fights for the right things. I've learned to let unimportant battles go.

I've learned all of that helps me build good, important things. And I have fun doing it.

I've learned that I have worth as a human being. And nothing I do (or don't do) takes away from my worth as a person. Who I am defines me, not what I do.

There is tremendous freedom in that. Freedom and knowledge and daring and responsibility. (I'm like Spider-Man.)

So it's time for a change. I got to thinking how once -- being basically a director for programs and services -- I was asked to step in and manage a physical remodel of BigHugeCorps' Austin offices. I did it with no knowledge of commercial construction on a ridiculously short time line with a shortage funds and a wealth of expectations. And I did it on time and under budget and gave them more and better stuff than for which they asked.

I'm an actor. I hadn't done that before. I also hadn't previously pitched a video game or TV show.

That and other stuff has me thinking, "Crap, I really can do a lot of different stuff."

Again, this is not about self-aggrandizement.

I could (and may) stay in the same vertical market, and (God willing) continue to be productive and successful and growing. Or, I could embrace that loving change side of me, and do something really, really different. Really big. Really exciting. Really scary.

I can't speak for other people, but for me it would be easier to stay in what I know. Be the senior guy. Work with the people I know, doing the same kind of stuff. Working with the knowns.

But how exciting would it be to do something I haven't done before? Become the newb (but not a n00b). Do something that takes my feet out from under me, makes me rely on the stuff I really know. Not the stuff related to BigHugeCorp, but the stuff I really know. The stuff that made me successful there. Before there. Hopefully after there.

The guts of my skills. The Core of me. What works, independent of where I'm officed (or cubicled, or streetcornered).

How cool would it be to work for a job that feeds my professional and my creative, my organized and my eclectic. That embraces my white collar process methodology comic book collecting video game playing and critiquing fly fishing recreational running ass whole-heartedly.

What if I turned my passion for playing and writing about video games into a career ("Hello, Electronic Arts")? What if my toy job was actually a toy job ("Hello, Hasbro")? What if I traded my desk job and computer in for a crow bar and tool belt, and moved to demolition or construction, because I love the physical labor, the wiping a pad clean for something new, or building that physical something new.

I've written all of this, knowing it could go nowhere. Maybe I won't find the "different stuff" that also takes care of the "life stuff." Maybe I'll be one of those people -- who for no fault of their own -- struggle in between gigs for a long time. Maybe I'll get cold feet.

I just know, right now, it's time for a change. It's time to be intelligent, but a little less careful. It's time to jump, not knowing where or when I'm going to land. With or without a parachute.

Ripcord ...

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