Where Did All the Time Go?
I’m hitting a milestone in the next few days; May 24 marks my fifth anniversary of working at Adobe, as a Solutions Consultant on the Enterprise Education Sales team.
As you might have noticed from my previous post, I’ve been in somewhat of a reflective mood, recently. Perhaps it’s this 5-year mark that has brought it on; perhaps it’s a confluence of the anniversary and other things. Regardless though, I’ve definitely been thinking about my personal history of late, and about my personal future.
Short Term Pain, Long Term Gain
The decision to leave teaching and make the move to Adobe (into a sales role, no less) was not an easy or light one. I had been teaching for 20+ years as an adjunct professor when I was approached by Adobe for this role. It was something very new, very different from what I’d been doing for so long. And as a result I was hesitant. But as my good friend Tom Green told me (in fact, he was the one who pointed Adobe at me), “You’d be an idiot not to look into this.” That said, I still struggled with making the jump. Me? In sales?
But I did jump, - or at least, started the run - and went through several interviews, a lot of phone conversations and finally, at the end, I was asked to present a demonstration that utilized at least three Adobe products, tied to an educational scenario. As you might have guessed, the presentation (combination of using Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Photoshop and a hint of Flash to help an agricultural student create a research project) was successful. Within 3 days of the presentation, I’d been given a verbal offer.
And frankly, it’s the best leap I’ve ever made. I work for a company that produces digital magic at every turn, is a household name in the creative sphere, and is highly supportive of their workforce. I’m surrounded by talented, brilliant and creative people and work on a great team.
Today's Word is Transformation
And I am experiencing first-hand, the evolution of a company, not just from a boxed software to SAAS model, but also from a company that is growing outside its original mandate to a true enterprise organization, creating and offering enterprise-level tools for digital marketing and communication.
Admittedly, it’s overwhelming and exciting at the same time. Adobe is not just Photoshop and Acrobat anymore, not by a long mile.
The School of Life
Working as a Solutions Consultant (SC) on the education team has done great things for my own confidence level and taught me so much. I’ve learned new tools, challenged myself (and continue to do that) to move outside my own personal comfort zone, and established relationships with faculty and institutions across North America. Before joining Adobe, I was only truly aware of what my department at the college was up to. I had no real sense of the school as a whole. Now, I’ve gained a great deal of context about Higher Ed and K12 in general, and how Adobe tools and digital literacy are impacting students and teachers. How cool is that?
I love the fact that I am still tied to education, as well. I feel like I’m bridging two worlds, and it’s a hugely important bridge.
And while I have never considered myself a salesperson, as Daniel Pink put it in his book, “To Sell is Human,” we are all selling something to someone. It might be the importance of a particular course to a student’s future, or convincing your young ones that an early bedtime is a good idea, or rationalizing to yourself (and possibly your spouse) why that new camera lens is a good idea. The point is, we’re kinda “selling” far more often than we realize. And when I think of it that way, and when I see the impact tools like Adobe’s can have on a student, my perspective of the concept of “sales” changes.
The move to Adobe has done a lot for my quality of life too. Case in point, in late 2014, we bought a cottage in a resort community on Rice Lake, near Peterborough, Ontario. Short of buying our house more than 2 decades ago, I believe this was the smartest thing we’ve done with our money. It’s a great investment, sure, but it’s added an oft-dreamt of experience for us. During the summer, if you follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, you will see many posts about “The Fortress of Moderate Solitude.” The cottage is a great place to unwind, recharge and has even been the inspiration of many photo projects and tutorials.
Frankly, I don’t believe we would have managed this purchase without my job at Adobe. Or if we did manage it, the process would have (and would continue to be) financially stressful. This career path has provided an excellent stable financial foundation to grow and plan for the future.
The Future's so Bright...
So, with 5 years behind me, and hopefully many more years ahead of me at Adobe, I have started to wonder where this future will take me. Where do I see myself in another 5 years? A definitive answer has yet to form, but one thing is clear to me; I want to stay aligned with the education efforts at Adobe. I feel it’s a critical part of my own psyche and I like to think it’s where I can do the most good, have the most impact, both to Adobe and to education customers.
I want to continue to grow, to learn, be challenged - maybe i’ll move from the sales side to post sales or have a more active role on the internal education team. Hard to say at the moment, but - while I do love what I do - I’m always open to trying something new.
So, here's to 5 years at Adobe. And a huge shout out to the friends I've made and to the support and encouragement they've given me during this first 1/2 decade. I work for an awesome company, and I work with amazing people. Cheers to all of you.