Vantage Blog


Take the plunge…10 years on!

LinkedIn reminded me (not that I needed reminding!) that Vantage turned 10 this month.

I set off ten years ago from the so called security of a corporate career. And now have a mix of Board roles and strategy consulting gigs with a range of medium sized businesses. A hectic, challenging but oh so rewarding journey.

Not a long time, but given the failure rate of many businesses, not short either. It did however set me to reflect on what I have learnt on the way…

It’s not such a fragile choice…in fact it’s the opposite. Some people offered the view that leaving the security of a corporate job was risky. However my experience is that having a so called ‘portfolio career’ means you are not tied to one organisation as your sole ‘employer'. You have a natural hedge that enables you to dial up or down your focus and engagement.

Variety is indeed the spice of life…for me and who I work with. The ability to, not only leverage what I learnt as a senior executive, but to build on ten years of working with dozens of businesses and boards keeps me fresh and enables me to add value in ways I hadn’t expected. Whilst not underestimating the value of deep sector experience in many circumstances, there is a lot to be said for the value breadth can give…in particular when developing strategy as a facilitator and as a non executive director.

Flexibility is gold. Having a mix of boards and clients means that, most of the time, I can manage work around my life. Yes I have probably never worked harder, and sometimes there are multiple demands, but in general the flexibility to spend more time with my family, take more holidays and spend time developing my capability pays me back ten fold. Work life balance is often disparaged as unachievable because people talk about trade offs. In fact it’s about focusing on the life you want to lead…in all its components.

Your support team is critical. You cant, and won’t, do it on your own. People are only too willing to help by way of advice, support and introductions. And the really great bit? You get to do the same for others and that has a whole set of value in and of itself.

So if you are thinking of taking the plunge from the so called security of a corporate gig give it a go!

Happy 10th anniversary to Vantage!

James Atkins

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