The Grass is Always Greener and Other Dangerous Beliefs You Might Be Holding Onto

Time and time again, I hear these words from aspiring business analysts:

It must have been a whole lot easier for them to start a BA career; they have ____.

The thing is, what fills in the blank is different depending on the perspective of the person.

  • For someone with a business background, it’s technical expertise or experience working on technology projects.
  • For someone with a technical background, it’s business domain experience.
  • For someone with no career background, it’s someone with any career experience whatsoever.

No matter what side of the fence you are on, the grass is always greener, the journey always easier, for someone else. Well, today I’m going to explain why this kind of thinking is not just wrong, it’s flat out dangerous.

Dangerous you say? Yes, I do. I’ll get there.

Just Plain Wrong

Let’s start by considering why it’s just plain wrong. The assumption behind this thinking is that there is a set of skills required for starting a career as a BA. There is (you can click here to get my take on the core BA skills), but technical skills and business domain knowledge aren’t on the list.

Strong communication skills, good documentation skills are core and the addition of a few BA specific skills, such as experience with requirements specifications or facilitating an elicitation interview are right up there.

But the ability to write SQL queries or understand the ins and outs of the insurance domain?


You can check out the following posts for discussions of why these skills are not required to start a BA career.

(And if you are wondering why you see these skills in some BA jobs, consider the perspective I offer in Why Do We See Technical Skills in Business Analyst Jobs? about technical skills and in Leveraging Your Expertise to Become a Business Analyst about domain expertise. If you have them, these skills can set you apart for specific positions. But if you don’t, they will not, I repeat, will not, stand in your way.)

But I digress….

Not Only Wrong But Dangerous

I promised to tell you why this thinking is not just wrong but dangerous. Dangerous is a big word with lots of meaning. It means you are not only holding yourself back, something we talked about in What Elephants Can Teach Us About Achieving Our Career Goals, but that you are doing something that’s just asking for something bad to happen. Kind of like fumbling for your keys in a thug-filled dark alley.

What’s the danger in holding on to these wrong beliefs?

  • If you believe that someone else has it easier than you, you will make excuses for why you are not achieving your career goals. Instead of looking inside at the value you bring, you’ll focus on what you don’t have. In the worst of cases, I’ve seen this kind of thinking lead individuals to pursue years of training to fill every possible competency gap, leaving them no closer to achieving their actual goal. This alley is not necessarily thug-filled, but it’s dim and dreary. Eventually your energy just peters out.
  • When you don’t get the job offer or the opportunity in your company never surfaces, you put your blame elsewhere. Instead of looking at how to improve your situation, you blame something ambiguous like “the state of the profession” or “the manager’s inability to see my value.”  This is dangerous because you’ve just lost an opportunity to learn the truth. This alley is dark and full of unpleasant surprises.

Either alley eventually leads, well, nowhere. And this means that instead of moving forward, you are actually regressing. And in today’s marketplace, that’s dangerous. Those who are meandering around dark alleys are getting passed by those who are moving forward in the full light of day.

The Easy Way Out

Luckily there is an easy way out.

Look inside – there is an overwhelming amount of wonderful assets right inside you that are going to help you make this career change a reality.

I believe this in my heart because I’ve seen so many people find the strength within. But first they had to stop comparing themselves to others. And then they had to realize some of the beliefs they had were false. And then, and only then, did they really start seeing momentum behind their career change.

Get the Book

In How to Start a Business Analyst Career, you’ll learn how to assess and expand your business analysis skills and experience.

This book will help you find your best path forward into a business analyst career. More than that, you will know exactly what to do next to expand your business analysis opportunities.

Click here to learn more about How to Start a Business Analyst Career

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  1. Laura, I have to be honest that I had no clue what a BA was until I “happened” into my current position. But, three years into this gig and I’ve learned a vast amount about myself, about business and how to communicate with personalities from all over the spectrum. Just wanted to chime in on this post.

    Your statement, “It must have been a whole lot easier for them to start a BA career; they have ____.” is actually funny… to me. I have a music degree with with focus on percussion. I specialize in hitting things!! No technical background whatsoever. Started out in our customer service department and long story short, ended up as a BA.

    Sometimes its as simple as getting angry enough (in the right way, on behalf of our customers) – which is what I did – to do something about it. So there’s hope! Even folks like me, Bam-Bam’s decendant, can find oneself in an ever-changing industry as a BA trying to make sense of it all, save some trees here and there, and streamline medieval business processes.

    Thanks for your work, encouragement and insight for all us BA’s from all walks of life!


    • Mike,
      Thanks for sharing your story here! As a philosophy major, I have complete respect for the liberal arts. Though of course there are some pretty insightful parallels between Socratic Dialog and Requirements Elicitation and Analysis. 🙂

      Getting angry is a common way to lead yourself into business analysis. At some point, people want to stop hearing you complain so they put you in charge of solving the problem. Then you are off to the races!

      Thanks again. Bang away!


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