Make Room For Magic: Navigating Your Career in Uncertainty

I often think of the words of Reid Hofman from Masters of Scale Podcast.

“Make room for magic, you can’t predict your next a-ha moment but you can create favourable circumstances for serendipity to happen”

Making room for magic 🪄, or what I would call leaving space for uncertainties; is believing that the unknown is sometimes better than our plans.

We feel accomplished when we set goals, make plans towards them, and achieve them. Maybe it is the need to be in control of every aspect of our life, especially with our careers where we can say, this is what I did & here is what I achieved all by myself.

It can be a little tricky when we make plans and things go wrong. We often feel not in control of our lives, & that uncertainty, scares us

After leaving my job, as an Innovation Analyst, I was certain I knew what I wanted to do with my life: work with teams to build products that people love: I wanted to become a product consultant.

I had my plans set in stone, stamped on the walls of my house, I made every effort I could to bring my dream into actualization. THINGS WERE NOT JUST GOING AS PLANNED. Doing something was always better than doing nothing, so I girded up my loins and resumed physical work after one year of working remotely.

I began working as a Customer Support Representative, in a Cryptocurrency Exchange Platform based in Nigeria. It has been four months now, and I have managed to glean the lessons learned into these bullet-sized points. Working here made me realize that;

  1. People Matter;

The people you work with,& the people you work for, all matter. It is now a “thing” for startups to say “We prioritize people over systems,” but do they value their people?

We all know it is the employer’s world out there. He can choose to fire and hire to his discretion. Only a few companies truly mean it when they say they are concerned about employees’ welfare and this company has shown to be one of them.

2. Creating Space and Environment for People to Learn Matter;

For Individuals to thrive, they need both space and an environment that encourages learning. Creating a space is easy, many tech companies are now the new cool, with office playgrounds, ideation rooms, and comfy office spaces.

Creating an environment, however, is the challenge. A good environment is one that not just encourages learning but fosters it. How many times have you heard a manager say,

“We encourage professional learning and career development”, but stifle staff who seek further training. Or an organization that penalizes external learning and out-of-office interactions.

It was refreshing to be in an organization that not only says “we want our employees to grow,” but walks the talk.

3. Giving Matters;

We have a thing we do once a week, it is called the “Wednesday tradition”. Every Wednesday all staff get together after work. We review pressing work matters, hear updates about the platform and we give gifts to any staff whose birthday falls within the week.

It’s the best part of the tradition for me because I get to share in other people’s joy and I get a chance to make them smile. And I’ve never gotten as many gifts as I received in one, and this is a good thing if you are coming from a place where you’re meant to give instead of receive on birthdays

4. Acknowledging that You Don’t Know Everything Matters;

We spent a month learning the intricacies of money, cryptocurrency, and customer service response. But there is a world of blockchain technology out there.

There’s no end to learning and knowing enough in this space. In my short time in the Crypto space, I have seen a bear and a bull run, and the warped waters cryptocurrency platforms have to deal with in that time. And let's not even talk about the changing government regulation every fortnight

5. Humility Matters;

What has humility got to do with working in a startup…, a lot. Working here really did seem like starting over afresh. Beginning with zero knowledge in a new thing. It would be difficult to learn if I did not have the “Tabula Rasa” mindset. We are all beginning again & sometimes simply admitting that “hey, I need to start learning all over” matters

But that is not the only kind of humility that matters. Humility shown by a leader, & the willingness to hear what your staff is saying also matters.

6. Being Your True Self Matters;

I recently read a tweet by a founder who believes everyone should work in a startup in their twenties. I quite agree with this founder, because the opportunities a startup environment presents are difficult to replicate in a corporate environment.

Firstly, in a startup, you get the opportunity to explore. My Bosses have always narrated experiences of people who started with one thing and ended up with the next in another job role. By trying out new things (as often should be the case) they went on to find the best place where they truly fit.

Secondly, startups with the right environment allow you to truly be yourself. Think of working in a startup as arriving at a party before the rules of the party are implemented. You get to play around, talk, have fun, and even do new things you probably never knew about.

7. Making space for magic and accepting where life has placed you at this moment matters

My previous employer raised the bar of what I want in a workplace. Dr Olukunle Iyanda encouraged me to speak up, disagree with him and be my true self. While seeking another job, these were all part of the criteria for the kind of company I wanted to work with.

I knew where I wanted to be, I just did not know how I would get there, and while trying and finding my feet lead me here, I’ve learned to maximize every single opportunity I have by being present.

In summary, it is said that we make plans and God laughs. Not in any way trying to discredit the place of goal setting, I now believe that oftentimes, the unknown can lead to good things too.

It can be daunting, staring at the precipice of change, but if you believe that the unknown can align in your favour, perhaps we would be more open-minded.

So when you set your plans today, perhaps if you leave a little space for things to happen, you would be surprised at what could happen.

And maybe something good will get in from that little space, and maybe a strain of magic 🪄also.

Let me know if you enjoyed this article by sharing your thoughts with me on Twitter @onukogufavour, and if you’ve ever had a similar experience, you can share with me.

#tech #startups #JJAdams #ReidHofman #MakeRoomForMagic #MastersOfScale #OnukoguFavour #Roqqu




Hello I’m Favour. A Writer & Product Manager. I rest at the confluence where science & art meets. find me

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Onukogu Favour

Onukogu Favour

Hello I’m Favour. A Writer & Product Manager. I rest at the confluence where science & art meets. find me

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