How to Be The One Good Things Happen To: 6 Career Management Lessons

Once upon a time, this guy named Doug sent me an email about an article he wanted to publish on Bridging the Gap.  This is where Doug Goldberg enters my story. But there was an amazing back-story behind this email and Doug was kind enough to share it publicly late last year.

Let’s read into what Doug shared with us and look at what we can learn about business analysis career transitions.

I was disenfranchised in 2008 after several years of not really getting anywhere career-wise…and I was angry about that. Really angry. Get up and walk out the door angry.

Have you ever felt this way? I know I have. But I got up and walked out the door. Doug managed to stay put and make the best of it.  When you are an aspiring BA, it can sometimes feel like the world is stacked against you. You are not alone.

Lesson #1: You don’t have to burn your bridges (or your income stream) to make change happen.

 After coming home day after day with this anger, I finally decided at the end of 2008 that I was simply going to seek the things that I needed from outside my day job. So, I stepped out into the world of the internet and began corresponding, blogging, communicating with peers and people I admired for their smarts, enhancing my digital footprint, etc.

This is when I met Doug. I had no idea he was frustrated. To me he was a passionate business analyst with a story to tell and advice to give. I was excited to work with him because he was excited to work with me.

Lesson #2: Even when you are frustrated about something, radiate positive energy. This can be hard. And it means you need to take care of you in safe places so that you can show the best of you in public places.

Lesson #3: Sometimes the best place to find opportunities is outside your immediate job situation.

After about six months, strange things started to occur. Analysts from all over the planet began to contact me out of the blue to obtain advice and such from me on analysis topics.

Lesson #4: When you radiate positive energy, positive things start to come back to you. The cycle of positive feedback might take awhile to materialize. When you are in the midst of a career transition, six months feels like a heck of a long time to receive some positive feedback. A solid support network can help you stay on track and motivated.

Recently, I got a new job and am thrilled about the potential challenge that awaits me now and in the future. AND THIS is why I’m writing this post today. I wanted to convey to each of you struggling with direction or success that I firmly believe that the decision in 2008 and the subsequent efforts to expand my horizons and knowledge have led to the job that I just mentioned.

At this point we’ve fast-forwarded through Doug’s transition. The amount of time passed is now at 3 years – 3 years from starting to do something about the frustration to achieving a career goal.

Lesson #5: Even with positive feedback along the way, reaching your goal can take a fairly long time. But if you are committed to where you are going, there will always be another way up, under, around, or through the roadblock sitting in front of you.

And Doug has yet another piece of wisdom to share:

I unknowingly built a history of volunteerism, active participation, knowledge sharing, and community involvement, all the while I was enjoying trying out new things, like writing articles. This has painted a picture for anyone wanting to know something about me and has created a pattern of behavior that hopefully says something positive.

Lesson #6: Enjoy the journey. Since achieving your career goals could take awhile, don’t put life on hold while you wait for success to happen. And don’t get so caught up in where you are going that you ignore the important stuff along the way. Take some time to smell the roses. But more importantly, enjoy the activities you are doing to make the career change happen. The journey is just as important, if not more important, than getting where you are actually going.

Thanks Doug for sharing your story. You are an amazing contributor to the business analysis profession and it’s my honor to work with you!

Looking for a little more inspiration?

Here are three of our top inspirational posts here at Bridging the Gap:

7 Signs You Are Making Progress Towards a BA Career

Why You Are Not Achieving Your BA Career Goal

Your Organization Needs You to Step Up

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  1. Doug Goldberg says

    I’m just amazed at the comments here as well. You guys really know how to make a guy feel good. I too appreciate all your feedback and honesty and the stories of how you have overcome your own obstacles. Please periodically keep in touch and let Laura and I know how you are coming along!

    All the best to you


  2. Thanks everyone for your positive comments! I can feel the positive business analysis vibes lifting up a little through our dialog. I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to leave your notes on Doug’s inspiring story.

  3. This is a great story! I went through something similar, though luckily, I did with the help of my BA colleagues. We were subject matter experts, transitioned to the title of “business analyst.” Our individual teams all operated quite differently, and some BAs were given more authority than others, in large part dependent upon the group of developers with which they were working. We had several teams of “cowboy developers” who “didn’t need no stinkin’ BA” to tell them what to build. This was the sort of team on which I found myself. During this period of frustration and anger, I happened upon the IIBA and the BABoK. As a group, we started to read through it, standardize our approach and our language about our careers, and communicate to our teams that not only was this an important role, but that there was industry knowledge to back us up. The authority imbued by “industry standard” really started to take hold. Over the course of a couple of years, we standardized our processes, proved to our management team — and more importantly, our development staffs — that what we were doing was a vital part of the software development life cycle. Most developers actually felt great relief once they allowed us to do our jobs!

    I share this story as a way to show that you don’t have to be the internet expert, but can use the internet experts to help improve a tricky work situation. However, all that networking and study will help you become an expert, and I hope you will all continue to share your knowledge and experiences!

  4. Doug, Laura, I love this story. I met Doug around the same time, and Doug, you have been more than an inspiration to me professionally and personally. Your positivity really radiates and is great to be around it. And Laura, this story is touches my heart and soul. It’s those simple principals that we sometime forget when we are caught up in our destination instead of our journey.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Manoj Shukla says

    Hi Laura,

    Thanks for sharing a wonderful real life incident, Its really give us new sight to achieve the best in the worst situations and hat’s off to Dough, Who gone though from that tough situation with patience and hit the world again with new vision. I just believe investing of time in any good deed will never be go in vain. Doug is real example of that. Keep on sharing wonderful experiences, Which guide the whole community to achieve best in Business Analysis profession.

    Manoj Shukla

  6. Doug Goldberg says

    Thanks Srikanth very much.

    I think the best part of the this type of adventure is that you as an individual have full control of how you interact, how much you take on and many times the outcome of such events. We get into, very often, relying on our jobs to provide things for us. In doing so, it’s easy to get complacent and forget that it really is our own obligations to do these things for ourselves…..and it’s much more satisfying!

  7. Srikanth says

    @Doug: No words to express, your story was simply an INSPIRATION which taught us about Patience and Determination… If one is determine nothing can bow you down…
    @ Laura: You rightly said, one can’t GIVE opportunity… If someone want to make a change, he should able to identify/create the opportunity and take necessary steps on it..
    Thanks you to both of YOU for being such a wonderful persons and sharing your wisdom with rest of the aspiring BA community…

  8. Ahmed Abdelfattah says

    Excellent story. It really inspired me and woken up something inside me.
    Thanks a lot Doug

  9. Doug goldberg says

    Thanks to both of you for your kind words and laura…thanks so much for the opportunities that you have given me to succeed

    • It’s been my honor and you’ve created every opportunity Doug! Sometimes I wish I could “give” opportunities, but I’ve learned it’s impossible.

  10. I LOVE hearing about Doug’s story! The fact that he took control and inspired himself to find fulfillment outside of his 9-to-5 when the day job wasn’t doing it is what I think drives a lot of us to volunteer, blog, write, share, etc. It’s exactly what caused me to start the Real World BA blog as well! I am passionate about business analysis but at the time was on a project in a job that wasn’t helping me FEEL passionate. So I reached out and found another way to stay really excited about what I do.

    And Doug’s story is also a testament to patience, perseverence, and the power of taking initiative! We live in a society where we often expect instant gratification, but sometimes you have to be willing to work for it, wait for it, and enjoy the journey along the way.

    Thank you Laura and Doug for reminding us all of that!

    • Thanks Karie! And thanks for your contribution to the BA profession with Real World BA. It’s been exciting to see your journey unfold…can’t wait to see where it lands you!

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