We’ve been on a bit of a streak of culture and career discussions, which means we want to assure you that Tim is not actually tied up in a basement with no access to our content calendar. Actually, in this episode, Tim plopped down on the therapy couch as a vessel for the wisdom of Moe and Michael about structured techniques for analysts to chart the best paths for their careers.
0:00:05.8 Announcer: Welcome to the Analytics Power Hour, analytics topics covered conversationally and sometimes with explicit language. Here are your hosts, Moe, Michael and Tim.
0:00:22.1 Michael Helbling: Hey, everybody. It’s the Analytics Power Hour. In this episode 211. Hey you got a minute? I’ve been thinking about my career and I think it might be time to make a change. It’s a tricky topic, so I just wanted to chat with a few people that I really trust about it. Do you mind if I pick your brain a little?
0:00:42.2 MH: Obviously, please keep this episode confidential. I don’t want my boss to find out before I’m ready to have that discussion. Hey, Tim, you’re the quintessential analyst. And you and I have had this conversation over the last 10 years, many, many times. Are you okay to chat about this a little bit?
0:01:02.3 Tim Wilson: It’s so funny, this was not a topic I suggested and it’s definitely the most timely for me, so. Perfect, yeah.
0:01:09.2 MH: And Moe, you’re right at the nexus of latest trends in both like people leadership and data and analytics. Are you willing to jump in on this conversation too?
0:01:20.0 Moe Kiss: I’m willing to jump in, but the nexus of people leadership and analytics? I mean, I don’t know if I’m in that place, but sure.
0:01:30.0 TW: He’s tested out more shit like it’s gonna be the quintessential analyst.
0:01:32.7 TW: He’s just, he’s workshopping stuff and it’s gonna be coming…
0:01:36.7 MH: I actually think that’s true. Look, okay first off, I didn’t know we were gonna start with this.
0:01:40.0 TW: “Hey, you’re the nexus analyst.”
0:01:42.4 MH: No, it’s Moe, look at your interests. You’re a people leader of a fast-growing team and a fast-growing company with doing the latest things in analytics, so you’re up on the current trends and the latest things that are happening in the industry. You’re a huge fan of people like Adam Grant and Brene Brown, just like me. And so that’s the nexus, that’s the intersection. I’m sorry, that’s analytics leadership. I don’t know what you want me to say.
0:02:09.6 MK: Right there. Summarised it well.
0:02:12.4 MH: I got it right. Anyways, I know I picked the right two people to talk to about this. Honestly, when…
0:02:18.3 TW: I feel like, Michael, your team’s now like, “Oh shit, what’s going on? We were doing great.”
0:02:24.6 MH: Yeah. Well, what can I say? We tried it and I’m just looking for something new.
0:02:33.4 TW: They heard it here first.
0:02:35.4 MH: Yeah, that’s right. This…
0:02:35.4 MK: But just for our listeners, a little bit of context.
0:02:42.4 TW: Yeah, great.
0:02:43.3 MK: Part of the reason that we were inspired to do this show is because I have a, I guess it seems like a myriad of analysts at all different levels, from junior to mid to senior, people managers who were kind of starting to have lots of conversations with me, and I seem to regularly, very regularly be having those conversations with people who are just like, “I don’t know what to do next with my career. I don’t know what the next step is.”
0:03:07.8 MK: “I don’t know if I should go down a more senior technical ISA route, I don’t know if I need to move companies, I don’t know if I should be going into a manager position.” And it’s this conversation, I seem to be having them I would say at least monthly. And what we wanted to talk through is a little bit of our own experiences with this, but also I guess delve a little bit deeper into it, and it’s something I’m really passionate about, about helping people figure out what they should do next.
0:03:38.1 TW: So was I the last person who came to you wanting to have that conversation?
0:03:43.4 MK: No, not even. Not even the last.
0:03:45.5 TW: You’re like, “Dammit, we should record this. I’m sick and tired of having these. Having them on tape.”
0:03:50.0 MK: No, I love these conversations though. Because if you so much about figuring out what makes people thrive at work. And like yes, I know “superpower” is such a corny word that everyone hates, but I love it. It really is about helping people figure out what their superpower is and what’s gonna make them feel really fulfilled and thrive at work, and that’s why I love these conversations.
0:04:09.8 MH: Well, and I think it is such a broad… I think we’ve had this discussion before as well, like analytics can go in many, many different directions, and the industry is changing super rapidly. So if… And again, I’ll put myself in it, I know that I am in the right industry for me.
0:04:31.4 MH: Looking back over my career, there were points where I know I wanna be growing, I know this stuff is interesting me. I have pretty much stumbled along organically and just followed what I have found interesting and then found time to do that, and that’s kind of evolved into the next role in a way.
0:04:52.8 MH: But if I look at what I know and what I do and how I do it, and compare it to the me from 10 years ago or 15 years ago, it is completely different. So I think that is for… That’s the first question. Do you wanna stay in the field? ‘Cause I do think there are people, that’s a tough question. There are times where they’re like, “Oh, wait a minute. I liked the idea of data and analytics and what I thought it was, but boy, I really don’t like… ”
0:05:27.1 MH: “The data is always so messy. I just wanna work somewhere where the data is not so messy.” And it’s like, well, not sure this is the right field. [chuckle] The data is always gonna be messy.
0:05:38.2 MK: To be honest, it’s also like the, like one that I’ve had is people who started out, ’cause lots of young people now are starting out in computer science and that sort of stuff with what I would say like more full stack or traditional back-end skills, who end up migrating to data.
0:05:55.2 MK: And I did have one person that I was kind of helping through this that was like, “Actually, I love data and I really love what I do, but I like the way that work is done as an engineer, as a software engineer, in terms of like I like getting tickets that are scoped by a product manager. I don’t… I struggle with the ambiguity,” or whatever it is.
0:06:14.0 MK: And so for various reasons, made the decision. It’s not, “I don’t like data,” it’s like, “I like this other thing and the other ways of working around this thing better.”
0:06:25.1 MH: Yeah, which I… And I think the leap of a lot of the… I mean for me, and I have also the other direction to come from is people who come from the business and they gravitate to the data, which means they arrive in the analytics world with I think business acumen a lot of times, and they had stumbled along and in the fringes had been trying to use data to do things and said, “Wait a minute, wouldn’t my life be much more fun if I was supposed to be doing that as my full-time job?”
0:06:54.6 MH: But those are the ones who I think come in and they’re like, “Wait a minute, I wasn’t necessarily signing up to learn Python or R or SQL maybe.” And I think that from the digital analytics world, it seems like people came a lot more from that, and I think there are people who are mid-career saying, “Wait a minute, do I have to learn this stuff?”
0:07:17.4 MH: And then I think you’re… Absolutely, the people who come from a computer science or some sort of programming background, it is very different, and when they meet up it’s, do you wanna keep pushing into that other area?
0:07:31.7 TW: Yeah, I get the sense for people who make those transitions from analytics to other things as sort of like a lacking the hand on the tiller sort of thing of being directly responsible for the thing that’s happening. Or running… ‘Cause a lot of times analytics ends up being highly advisory.
0:07:47.0 MH: They move because they wanna do stuff.
0:07:51.0 TW: Yeah. So be more directly connected to what’s happening. So I’ve seen a lot of people I’ve worked with in the past go from analytics roles into digital leadership roles or e-commerce roles, and even product management roles where they’re like, “Okay, I wanna move to where I feel like I’m actually directly impacting it, as opposed to being in this capacity where I’m trying to influence the action, but I’m not actually the actor.”
0:08:18.6 MK: Yeah, the owner of the decision.
0:08:19.3 MH: I can understand that. Yeah.
0:08:22.0 MK: You’re trying to influence the decision, but you’re not ultimately the decision maker.
0:08:24.7 TW: Yeah, and I think that’s pretty valid, some people struggle with that disconnect between those things. If on the other hand you’re more comfortable saying, “I would like to crunch the data,” and piss and moan about how they’re not making decisions with it, you are a long time, career track, analytics person.
0:08:44.6 MH: That’s right. Welcome.
0:08:49.0 TW: And Michael, you had made a comment when we were discussing this as a topic about the running to what’s next as opposed to running away from where you are.
0:09:02.7 MH: Yeah, when I… So I’ve made a number of job transitions in my career, and I try to evaluate and think about every single one of ’em. And I remember distinctly when I moved on from Lands’ End back to Rosetta before I went to Search Discovery, realising that the reasons I left that company were primarily because of some of the dissatisfaction I had with various things, certain things.
0:09:23.7 MH: All those things are past and that’s a great company, really great people, and not a bad word to say about anybody there, but at the time there was a couple of things that I was not particularly happy with. And I realised that a lot of my choices were driven by what I was trying to get away from, versus what I wanted next. And as I came to that realisation, it really helped me be thoughtful.
0:09:49.1 MH: ‘Cause I think one of the things I feel like is really important for people to realise is a lot of the things we find is problems in our jobs, in our life, are usually problems with us, that we actually have a lot more control over than we realise. Not everything, but like our reactions to things, how we respond to things. We have a lot of growing we can personally do.
0:10:12.6 MH: And so I tried to… I basically made a commitment to myself and I said, “I’m not gonna quit a job ever again when it’s because I’m leaving. I wanna only quit when I’m pursuing something I think is greater or better than what I’ve got, and I can’t do here, whatever the case may be.” And so I tried to just commit myself to that.
0:10:32.6 MH: And it was really hard because when I left Search Discovery to start my own company, it took me months of processing and trying to think through and really thinking about, and actually making sure I was really making that choice from that position always. And that’s when there were things… Again, it’s ’cause I really liked working at Search Discovery, it made it a really tough decision.
0:10:57.0 MH: But it was sort of like, “Okay, why is it?” And at the same time, it made me feel like, okay, I made a very wise decision at the end of the day, and it was the right one for me, and I think SD has go on to continue to grow and be excellent, so it looks like it’s working out great for them too. So that sort of frames up where it’s like, “Okay, good, that was a good separation. That worked well for everybody.” And so that’s kinda been my mentality.
0:11:20.8 MH: And so it’s like a personal journey though, it’s sort of like I’ve got problems, every job has problems, every job has stuff you don’t like about it. So it’s less about letting that be your reason, then sort of like, “What am I gonna do in the future and how does this next thing I’m gonna pursue map to that?” So yeah, that’s been my own journey.
0:11:41.4 MK: I think what’s really nice about that perspective or that commitment you made to yourself, it stops you from making a rash decision of like, “I just need to get out of where I’m at. These are the four jobs that are available, so I’m gonna choose from those four.” Versus like…
0:11:56.4 MK: I think what I have found has been really successful, both for myself and people that I’ve kind of coached or mentored through a transition like this, is being really purposeful about what you do want your next role to be like, and then seeking that out versus… Or even creating it for yourself.
0:12:15.9 MK: Versus, “These are the five jobs that are available on LinkedIn, and so I’m just gonna apply for these five and whichever one I get first that meets, that has the best offer, I’m gonna take.” I had done that previously and it led to me not lasting very long at a company because I was miserable.
0:12:33.9 MH: I’ll maybe provide a… I don’t know that it’s directly in conflict with that, but I do think during my career there have been points where I have realised that something structural about the company is… Yeah, it is draining me psychologically. Which actually means really hard to spend evenings or weekends thinking about what’s next.
0:13:01.7 MH: I think there’s a lot of value in saying, “What is it that’s structurally about this company?” which is not a knock on the company at all. It is, “That’s not what I want to do.” So I think there’s a part where it’s like I’m gonna leave that behind because we are not or are no longer a fit.
0:13:24.1 MH: My interests and what I do enjoy, is not aligned with what that organisation is, that is their strategy for growing and thriving. And if those don’t align, and it’s like, well, what I need to do next is definitely don’t pick one of the jobs that’s gonna have the exact same issues.
0:13:47.5 MH: I’ve figured out the general sort of scale of a company that I enjoy. Outside of financial straits, I’m not gonna work for a massive organisation, I just know that I won’t do that. ‘Cause I have done it and it’s been fine and I’ve grown from it, but that’s not for me. So I think that it’s not quite running away from, but it’s a little bit of saying, “Look, that’s… I’m not gonna be the one who’s gonna change the organisation’s strategy. And I shouldn’t… They shouldn’t change it for me. It’s just time to move on.”
0:14:30.0 MK: But I wanna ask a clarifying question. When you mentioned that, I guess that in my world I see it like a disconnect between either the company values or the way they operate, or the way they operate in light of their values, whatever you wanna call it, and what I personally, the type of company I wanna work for.
0:14:50.2 MK: Were you saying that when you’ve experienced that disconnect between those two things, you found it difficult to find the mental space to think about what you wanna do next, is that what you find?
0:15:01.1 MH: Yeah, ’cause I think… And I think I’m like a lot of analysts, I can’t mail it in. My best effort to quiet quit, it just would not happen.
0:15:13.2 TW: You’re a pathetic quiet quitter, yeah. [chuckle] You’d never be able to pull it off.
0:15:21.1 MH: So I think that’s… Yeah, so it’s just like it’s… That becomes draining. I think recognising it’s draining. So I don’t think that it’s always like, “Well, no, I just need to bluntly change my attitude or change my way or inspect my emotions and make it work.” No, there are lots of… It should be healthy that some people fit well in organisation at one time and no longer fit as they grow their careers and as the company evolves.
0:15:48.0 MH: Search Discovery has actually, they have said that multiple times, “Even when Michael left, it was like, yeah, that’s life.” That’s not that anybody has done anything wrong. But I think it still becomes the… The question is, “What should I do next?” is the question. And it shouldn’t be, “Well I didn’t wanna not work there, and I wanna not have that manager and not have that co-worker.” That’s not really helpful. It’s only helpful to the point of saying why. What is it structurally about that…
0:16:15.3 MK: To me it’s helpful in the determining it’s time to leave, but that shouldn’t determine what your next step is.
0:16:21.8 TW: And then that gets into the next piece, which is, what do you construct or how do you go through that evaluation process? Which honestly, this is starting to remind me of the Katie Bauer episode, ’cause I felt like she did such a cool job of that.
0:16:35.6 TW: But actually, Moe…
0:16:36.3 MH: We’re just gonna be the touchy-feely. I don’t know what you guys have done to me. You know what? What I wanna on a podcast next is get back to talking about analytics, not this touchy-feely crap.
0:16:45.2 MK: We are talking about analytics careers.
0:16:50.7 TW: “What we do, Tim, is we set up a shiny app in R to evaluate all of our career options.” No.
0:16:57.9 TW: No, to me, that’s exactly the process I went through was sort of like first figure out, is this time? And then second, well then what? And that was a whole process of its own as well, the reason I did what I did, I had other options, and everybody in analytics has options, I always say that you always have a choice. And it’s really… That’s also really scary, just to get it off my chest, like the fact that we could all go get jobs somewhere else so easily is kind of a problem in a way, because it lets us run from the truth sometimes.
0:17:32.7 MK: It’s a privilege. I actually think it’s a real privilege.
0:17:38.1 TW: Yeah, that’s a good thing to say. It’s a privilege. Yeah. And if we were in other industries or we existed 50 to 100 years ago, there’s no such thing as the kind of mobility we have in our careers, so it is something it’s a really big privilege to have it. And at the same time, it’s sort of like, well, how do I not replicate the mistakes in the past out into the future?
0:17:54.6 TW: And so yeah, I went through and I basically thought of the kinds of work I wanted to do that mapped to what I thought I was best at and fit my personality and me best, and I mapped out 15 years, and I said, “Which of these options that I think I could see myself doing would be the best choices for me? And the best utilisation, the best in terms of my economic utility, if you will, in the marketplace?”
0:18:22.5 MH: Good for you. I haven’t even, I haven’t even mapped out 15 weeks. That’s… Ugh.
0:18:25.9 MK: Yeah, ditto.
0:18:27.9 TW: Well, again, it’s not gonna become true, it’s not good numbers. It’s just useful to think about like, “Okay, yeah, I’ve probably got 15 more years of work in me before I maybe go to something a little less full-time.” I’m not gonna ever stop working. I don’t see myself, I’ll do something for somewhere, I just like working so much, so it’ll be fine. But I won’t do it like I do it now.
0:18:52.6 TW: But it was sort of like, “Okay, then in that vein, here’s the three things, or here’s the four things I could see myself doing or pursuing, and what would it look like to do that, what are the real expectations of that?” And then map it out.
0:19:02.2 MK: I think the problem is some people don’t know that though, they don’t know what the three or four options are.
0:19:12.3 TW: Totally fair.
0:19:13.1 MK: That step is actually, I think the most difficult.
0:19:15.8 TW: That’s totally fair.
0:19:16.5 MK: What are the options available to me? Like I had someone come to me not long go, that was like, “I don’t… I don’t know what’s at… I don’t know what I don’t know.” And I’m also like, “Well, I’m sure as shit not gonna tell you because you need to figure this out for yourself.”
0:19:29.2 TW: Step one, learn about yourself. Learn about who you really are, what you really enjoy, and those kinds of things. ‘Cause the amount of dishonesty we apply to ourselves, I speak from personal experience, ’cause I did this for years and years and years, is astounding.
0:19:51.1 TW: We buy a lot of lies to ourselves because we want to appear a certain way, we want to achieve a certain salary, we want to… Whatever those things are. We’ve onboarded some opinions about what we ought to be, and it takes a long time to get rid of those. And the more you can cut through some of that and figure out who you really are, that’s the most important starting point for this process, I think. Sorry Moe, you were gonna say something.
0:20:20.4 MK: I don’t even think though it’s about… I don’t know, I feel like that was very heavy, which I’m totally comfortable with, but I think the bit sometimes the lies that we tell ourselves are the skills, the things that we need to develop. And so I don’t remember if I’ve told everyone this at some point as an anecdote, but James Hayes, has the internal coach at Canva who I adore, who’s been a previous guest.
0:20:48.1 MK: He helped me through this whole coaching journey where I kept setting these technical goals and I kept failing at them and not doing them, and at one point he really challenged me, he’s like, “Moe, do you actually wanna do this technical stuff? Is it actually important to you?”
0:21:02.0 MK: And when it really boiled down was like, I thought I should be doing it, I thought I should be spending five hours a week on my technical craft, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t actually genuinely enjoy it as much. Or I didn’t see it as valuable as maybe I might have five years ago, whatever the case.
0:21:19.8 MK: And really acknowledging that changed my perspective, ’cause then I was like, I’m actually gonna use that five hours to do the thing that I do think is gonna help me next. But it’s that, yeah, you have to be honest with yourself.
0:21:32.8 TW: You have to kind of admit it.
0:21:33.6 MH: But I feel like it’s like… I don’t know. Yeah, I’m kind of the same. It’s not like this, capital K, capital T “Know Thyself.” Maybe for the Michaels of the… I mean I think there are people out there who can maybe…
0:21:47.8 TW: It’s a journey, right?
0:21:50.4 MH: Kind of sit and introspect that way. I think it’s a much simpler like as you described it, like Moe if you literally at the end of the day had said, “What was I excited to do? What sucked the life out of me?” I have had to grapple with like, you throw me any dumb little thing that could be coded or scripted in R, and it is amazing what stuff’s supposed to get done that will get done later.
0:22:24.2 MK: Yeah. That’s awesome.
0:22:24.3 MH: I know I’m gonna gravitate to that.
0:22:25.2 TW: That’s awesome.
0:22:28.3 MH: So I’ve gotta square that with, am I gonna go and develop packages? No. Moe, you’ve got… Your framework of the four buckets of the questions to ask yourself, I think is a really structured way to try to figure that out, and try to figure out where you don’t have answers, and that focus is what you’re… Now that I’ve just referred to it, I feel like you need to probably explain it before I speak in the abstract.
0:22:53.6 TW: Yeah, that lead in.
0:22:55.4 MK: Yeah, so I actually use this, and the funny thing is that’s why I asked the clarifying question earlier about whether you’ve felt so overwhelmed that you couldn’t, you didn’t have space to think. Because there’s an exercise that I’ve been doing with quite a few people that have been coming to me about this, and I’m really happy to share.
0:23:12.6 MK: I’ve got a template that I use now with people who kind of present with this situation and wanna talk it through, and you basically bucket, “What are the things I like doing?” and yes, you should include your hobbies. Lots of people are like, “Why am I including my hobbies?” I’m like, “Because there are things you enjoy doing, and if you can overlap that, that’s great.”
0:23:32.4 MK: But it will also give you insight into things that you might not have thought about. So, “What do I like doing?” And include your hobbies. “What do I avoid doing? What am I good at? And what can I get paid for?” Now, I actually was really cheeky and when I was doing a career transition, I put this up on a huge mirror in my dining room.
0:23:50.6 MK: It actually sat up there for weeks, and I had a stack of Post-it notes and pens, and anyone that came into my house, I pointed to it and said, “If you wanna add a Post-it, I’d love it. There is no pressure, but feel free to add something if you like.” My husband put some very entertaining Post-its up that I then had to scrap.
0:24:13.9 MH: There had to be a rating applied to them or what?
0:24:16.1 MK: Yes, they were definitely R rated.
0:24:18.4 MK: But the summary is, at the end you wanna then try and find a role that minimises the things that you avoid doing, because there’s obviously a reason you avoid doing them, right? Like, I don’t know, maybe it’s process, maybe it’s, “I don’t like writing up my findings,” or whatever it is, but then the key is to look for intersectionality or like a Venn diagram of the things you like doing, what are you good at and what can you get paid for, and that I just find sometimes having those…
0:24:47.6 MH: Can you put the same thing on two Post-it notes? Can you put something in the, “What do I like doing and what can I get paid for?”
0:24:51.6 MK: Yes. Yes, you should.
0:24:51.7 MH: Okay, so it’s fine to say. And that probably should be a little bulb going off in your head.
0:24:57.5 MK: Exactly.
0:24:58.0 TW: Yeah.
0:25:00.9 MK: Exactly. And I think that the really nice thing about this is that it often helps with that jump from like, “What should I do next? I don’t even know what the options are.” To like, “Oh, these are the five options because this matches up with this and that matches up with that.”
0:25:17.8 MK: Then people can help you, you can even go to them and be like, “Here are the things I like doing. These are things I’m good at. These are things I can get paid for. What marries up with this?” And you can use your network to be like, maybe it’s a data product manager role, maybe it’s that I wanna be a senior IC at a smaller company. You can then use your network to be like, what are the four or five things that would potentially fit this?
0:25:42.0 MH: Yeah. I think it’s also useful to abstract it out as much as you can. So in other words, if you say, you have a Post-it note that says like, “What I like doing, I like doing these things in R.” Abstract that out to, “I like solving problems with computer code,” or those kinds of things.
0:26:01.1 MH: ‘Cause if you start abstracting it out, it broadens your ability to kind of evaluate a lot of different things. ‘Cause when I was doing that process, but not nearly as organised as you, Moe, which is… I think is hilarious because…
0:26:13.6 TW: Surprising no one.
0:26:14.0 MK: No, I was surprising everyone. I am not an organised person.
0:26:18.3 MH: I have a method, but I never think to ever templatise it or create a structure around it, that’s one of the things I know about myself. But in doing that, I was like, “Wow, I really enjoy helping people learn new things.” Then I started applying that to like, well, what it was that I do. I do this, I do that, I do this, and I was like, “Wow, that’s actually why I like doing, sales and business development.”
0:26:40.1 MH: Because a lot of times the people I encounter in that process have this frustration and inability to see how these solutions are gonna work for them, and if I’m good at explaining how we’re gonna be able to come in and help, it actually lightens their load, it’s helpful.
0:26:56.1 MH: And I was like, “Wow, that makes me feel better about doing that process,” which is something that’s like I don’t feel like I’m a salesperson, but it’s like, “Wow, that is actually something I enjoy about the sales process as a consultant.” And so it’s sort of like that idea, and that’s why I say “abstract it out” ’cause then you can find these little spots in lots of different things of like, you enjoy that, you see what you’re good at it, and you can see how you apply yourself in a lot of different ways.
0:27:19.4 MH: And it can really help give you some joy in areas that are sort of mundane, ’cause one of the things we aren’t talking about is like, I do think there are necessaries in work, right? “That’s why they call it work.” Is that the phrase? Is like not everything is all happy all the time. And so there is some of that that you gotta deal with. Okay, you’re rubbing your hands together, Tim.
0:27:41.8 TW: I’m gonna pull a Moe and do the, I’m gonna get my personal…
0:27:46.4 MK: Anecdote?
0:27:47.8 TW: Personal consultation on the topic. So throw this, this out. Because this happened to me a few jobs ago, and then it happened again somewhat, not exclusively the most recent job, the exact same thing of like, “What am I good at?” And I think, Michael, the abstraction, like, “You know what? I’m good at making slide decks.” And I can abstract that to, “I’m pretty good at explaining things.”
0:28:10.5 MH: You’re great at explain things.
0:28:12.1 MK: Yes.
0:28:13.2 TW: But do I like doing it? To a point. I don’t like it as the core of what I do. In my most recent role, I feel like the last few months of the role it was like all I was doing was going through, frankly reviewing and trying to improve, not great decks. And it was killing me trying to figure out how to, when I wanna not be doing that, I enjoy the speaking at conferences, developing things for clients, where I’m trying to explain, “This is how… This is what we’re doing with the Bayesian time series modeling.”
0:28:51.6 TW: I enjoy, but I’m trying to wrap my head around how to abstract that. ‘Cause I had in a previous role, I got told, I got moved into a new position and they explained it to my peers, is I was gonna be in more of a thought leadership role. And one of my peers was like, “What does that even mean?” And my boss said, “Well, Tim makes really good slide decks,” and I was like, “And I’m out.”
0:29:13.3 TW: That was the shortest… I was at that job for nine months total.
0:29:16.8 MK: Can I ask a clarifying question? When I think of that particular skill set that you have, like you are an exceptionally good communicator of technical concepts, but is part of the reason that those few months like you weren’t enjoying it is because, to me one of… This is my observation, is you like explaining technical concepts that you have found or worked out for yourself, not trying to explain someone else’s work.
0:29:47.4 MK: And was part of that few months of pain, like you were trying to explain someone else’s stuff, which you might not have had that “aha” moment or you might not have been as passionate about it, or you’re reviewing other people’s shit.
0:30:01.0 TW: Definitely, yeah. That’s probably… And maybe that’s it. It was something where I’m like, I wound up having to learn shit I didn’t care about, and so that I could try to help them explain it better ’cause it made no sense, and that turned out to… And I think it was also, to a point, I like coaching people on how to do that.
0:30:19.7 TW: And that’s the other piece of like if I give somebody a tip and they’re like, “Great. Got it,” and run with it. If I give somebody a tip and they’re like, “Great, got it,” and then drop the ball, and then I give them the same tip again, and they’re like, “Great.” Then I tell them, “Watch this fucking video. Never do that again,” and they do it again. Then I wanna throw something through a wall.
0:30:39.0 MH: The idea that I come back to or I look for… This is, I do this all the time, like in an interview process or when I’m talking to people about careers, is I try to hone in on where they spark. Where their passion sparks up. When they start talking about something they like to do, and I see it flare up there, that’s what I’m looking for and listening for, and always.
0:31:03.8 MH: Because as a hiring manager, I’m always trying to figure out what they’re excited about and do we fit, is there in a mutual excitement that we can feed on, we can build on together? That’s so cool to see that. And the same thing in the pursuit of that, and there’s the classic… Was it Marie Kondo? Marie Kondo, that was like, “This sparks joy,” or whatever, that kind of idea.
0:31:26.9 MH: And in a certain sense, Tim, as you’re talking, there’s a couple of things about this that when you present things at a conference or within a company, the connection is with you sharing and giving enablement of that topic to a group of people. So the idea of thought leadership is sort of like Tim spews smart stuff into the void. Not exciting.
0:31:53.2 MH: But Tim sits down with three or four amazingly smart up and coming analysts, and you could go all day and all night. ‘Cause… And I’ve watched you. And that’s the thing is like… So that’s the spark, is when I’m able to do this with a group of people that I see the potential, I see the excitement, I see the opportunity. That gets me going and I love it, and I like to do it.
0:32:16.2 MH: And so that’s when you’re looking at career, that’s the thing you’re looking for, is where did the spark come from, what specific thing was it? I think part of why you love learning so many new things is so that you can effectively teach those things, and the way you effectively teach it is through participation in a process of sharing that in different ways, and it comes out all these different ways.
0:32:42.1 MH: And your preparation and excellence in terms of public speaking and those kinds of things is just hooked into that passion, and it’s like, “I’m gonna do a great job with this because I care so much that people understand this and get something from it.” And every time you talk about a talk you’re gonna give, you invariably will talk about, “Did I put things in this talk that people are gonna be able to get from this? Am I giving them good information they can actually hold on to?” So you’re naturally trying to teach in a certain sense.
0:33:15.4 MK: And it’s like the excitement, the excitement of, “I got it, I wanna help someone else get it.”
0:33:21.2 TW: That’s the thing, is like we can boil this down into a nice molasses of very general things, but that’s the nice thing, is that it can be applied to any recipe then. Because now you can go do a lot of different things and see where that little piece of it fits. And that’s what I mean by learning about yourself, and I think everybody’s capable of that journey. I’m nobody special, I don’t think.
0:33:45.0 MH: Yeah, and the reason we’re going on about one possible skill way beyond my comfort level. So I wanna ask another tip from Moe, whether intentional or not, this is why I think Moe you are at the nexus of the latest trends in both people leadership and analytics.
0:34:02.2 TW: I don’t lie. I just tell it like I see it.
0:34:06.2 TW: But another thing, Moe, when we were having… It was a while back, we were having the discussion and you were like, “Why don’t you just sit down… ” And instead of going through job postings out there, I had somebody… A former colleague had a friend who’d gotten laid off as part of a cut-back and they reached and made the introduction, and that guy was like, “Should I go into data engineering, data analytics, financial?” And a super nice guy, very, very good question.
0:34:35.4 TW: And I wound up in this world of like, “Well, these job titles are kind of hard to decipher, so it sounds like what you should do.” But Moe, you told me, this is quite a while back, where you were like, “You should just write your ideal job description.” Knowing that, I mean Michael, to your point, you’re not gonna…
0:34:51.2 MK: Oh, no I did tell you that, didn’t I? Shit. [chuckle]
0:34:54.5 TW: You did tell me to do that.
0:34:54.6 MH: That’s awesome.
0:34:58.3 TW: Which I think it’s fine to go and actually grab some existing job postings, but like, okay fine, grab it, but delete the company name and the job title, that doesn’t matter, just use those bullet points and figure out which of those you would put on your… I almost feel like you could take that and go through the same exercise of saying, “These are things I could get paid for,” except for the bullshit like, “Excellent communication skills,” like no.
0:35:21.1 TW: But if it’s a well-written job description, go through it and say, “Which of these things, these are all things I could get paid for, which of these would actually spark joy or what I want to do, or I’m good at it?” Or, “Would I want to learn to do?” I think it’s, you have to be careful with the ones that said, “I’d like to be doing that,” ’cause that’s where we start telling ourselves lies. But I think that was a really useful exercise. I remember spending a few hours trying to work through that, and that was actually super illuminating.
0:35:50.7 MK: This is part of my evil thing that everyone’s working out about me, when people ask me for a salary increase, they ask me for career advice, or they wanna go for promotion, the first thing I do is give them homework. And part of it is, you need to care about this more than I do. This is your career, this is your salary increase.
0:36:15.5 TW: It’s not your problem to solve it for them.
0:36:17.6 MH: Yeah.
0:36:17.6 MK: You need to show me that you’re gonna put in effort to thinking about this, and then I’m over 100% support you along the way, but this is on you to change. Not me to change for you.
0:36:26.9 TW: I like that a lot.
0:36:27.9 MK: I also love that we got Tim to say “spark joy” in an episode. I can’t believe that just happened.
0:36:32.8 TW: Well, the funny thing is, literally as I was moving some stuff around in the house, I found the Marie Kondo book and it sparked the thought, and I was, it came up with my daughter and I was like, “So that book we got, I never looked at it. I’m pretty sure it’s not spark… ”
0:36:49.9 TW: I was like, “What happens if you actually hold the Marie Kondo book and it doesn’t spark joy and you throw it out? Does a black hole open up somewhere?”
0:37:02.2 MH: It’s this joy singularity.
0:37:03.0 TW: So literally that was like two days ago, I was having that discussion with my daughter.
0:37:09.7 MH: And they just did that fusion experiment a little while back in California, so I guess we’ll find out in a couple of years.
0:37:14.8 MK: So one thing I do wanna touch on is that, so we’ve talked a little bit about figuring out what the right time is to make a move or how you know that it’s the right time, what those… That exploration is of what the next steps are. And then you often get to a place where you’re like, “Right, I know that I have these four or five options available,” or whatever the case might be.
0:37:40.8 MK: Maybe you started interviewing, you’ve started exploring. Tim, I actually really like the idea of writing that job description as well, because the other thing you can do is go back during an interview process and be like, “Hey, I wanna be open with you. This is the type of role I’m looking for. Does this align with what you guys have in mind?”
0:38:00.7 MK: Because this whole movement at the moment about people kind of miss-advertising what a role really, truly is, especially in the data space because people are so desperate. It’s an opportunity for you in the interview process to really figure out if the role that their advertising is actually gonna align with what you want.
0:38:19.9 MK: But one of the other techniques that I have actually used myself and I’ve used with other people is like once you have some options and you’re not sure what to do, is to list out all the things that are important to you. I did this for myself. I had things like for me, I know company values and whether a company actually lives those values, is really important to me, and I know lots of people, it’s not on their radar.
0:38:42.7 MK: For me, that’s probably almost one of my biggest driving factors when making a decision about joining a company, things about the culture, whether I have people to learn from is really important to me. And so I list all these things out, and then I actually create a matrix and I score each of my options.
0:39:00.6 MK: And the truth of the matter is, this is so subjective, you can put one thing as a one and one thing as a five because you have a personal preference for it, but it’s gonna help give you personal confidence about your choice. Which sometimes I think it’s the indecision or the uncertainty that’s really scary when you’re making a move.
0:39:19.7 MK: And so if you are able to find a way as a data person to be like, “Right, I really care about the data maturity of the organisation I’m going to. This one I’m ranking a one, this one I’m ranking a five.” It gives you some framework to help you make a decision.
0:39:35.5 TW: It’s basically how we land on podcast topics too.
0:39:39.5 MK: Yes, true.
0:39:40.3 MH: Yeah. Good old voting process.
0:39:42.2 TW: There’s a piece of that too that deep down, and I don’t… This is, I can’t remember where I read it or heard it. And I’m sure it’s been around and one of you will remember it. But it’s like if you go through this very disciplined sort of scoring and you’re like, “But wait, I really wanted to work it, I wanted to work at the other company, but this didn’t work.” But the coin decision making…
0:40:01.9 MK: The coin flip, yeah. Totally.
0:40:05.7 TW: Where when can’t make a decision and then you flip a coin, and really it doesn’t matter what the… It’s not… You’re not gonna go with what the coin flip says, it’s what you’re rooting for while the coins is in the air.
0:40:12.4 MK: Exactly.
0:40:14.9 TW: Is a way to sort of pay attention. Cool.
0:40:17.1 MK: And that’s exactly what this is doing, except with four or five options, because if the option that you really deeply do prefer comes out lower, you’re gonna find a way to tweak the scores or to be like, “Oh well that thing is really like that, and so I probably shouldn’t consider it,” and so you’re gonna find a way. But what it’s gonna do is…
0:40:38.3 TW: But it may be a clue to that you’re lying to yourself. Right?
0:40:39.4 MK: Yeah, totally, 100%. And it will help give you confidence about the uncertainty, or call out the fact that maybe you are lying to yourself.
0:40:48.1 TW: I feel like since I can see it, and I’m not gonna… Don’t worry, I’m not gonna list the companies on Moe’s personal evaluation, unless I did and then we could see how much money Josh or I could extract from you to not have it go out.
0:41:00.8 TW: But your list, Moe, was like; company values, culture, diversity, flexibility, newness test, likeable tools, business knowledgeable boss, data knowledgeable boss. Those two are big ones. Do you want somebody who knows more about data… I think we’ve even talked about the data maturity, the co-workers to learn from, the pay, the benefits.
0:41:23.8 TW: So those sorts of things are… That’s like the level, just to make it a little… It’s easy ’cause we’re kind of sitting there looking at it, but coming up with 10 or 15 things to say, “These are things that I do care about and I want. And now let me analytically assess the different companies.” Which I assume could be companies that you have an offer in hand, but it can also be companies that you’re just considered pursuing.
0:41:50.2 MK: Totally.
0:41:51.8 MH: Going after, yeah.
0:41:53.0 MK: And you could add anything on here. One thing that I would probably add now if I was looking tomorrow is like pay equity. Like in Australia, companies over a certain size have to produce an annual report on pay and promotion equity. And that’s all publicly available. And I do typically go through those reports before I say yes to a company.
0:42:12.2 MK: But it’s like I would actually put that on there now in my scoring matrix, and I would go through and say, “What are they doing about pay equity?” ‘Cause there are multiple different steps. Because that is something that I know is personally important to me, and it’s really hard to fight if they haven’t made any progress on it.
0:42:27.7 MK: Versus a company that’s maybe seven tenths of the way there, might be a better indicator of somewhere that I’m gonna more closely align with their values and what they’re prioritising.
0:42:38.0 MH: So you get all your answers, Tim? You good?
0:42:41.4 TW: I do.
0:42:45.9 TW: I haven’t heard a more pregnant pause, ready for a wrap in ever.
0:42:47.8 MH: Yeah, exactly. Well, and then the last thing you could also do is you could also just make a job offer to yourself and go start your own thing, which is exactly what I did.
0:42:56.4 MK: Yes. Yes, but… I know it’s meant to be “yes, and”, but do you know I love that Aaron and Rodney’s podcast recently she said “yes, but” instead of “yes, and”. And I was like, “You are my kindred spirit.”
0:43:10.3 MK: But anyway, the issue I do have with that, when I was going through a career transition, everyone is like, “Moe, you should start your own thing. You are so the person to do that.” And I did actually listen to a big of peer pressure. And the truth is, I absolutely hated it. Because…
0:43:29.5 MH: I think it’s important to know what you’re getting into.
0:43:34.2 MK: Well, I hated the business development, I hated the selling side, I hated working on my own, like all these things. And look, it wasn’t a bad experience because I figured those things out, I was like, “I never wanna start my own company, that’s not for me.” But I do think you need to be really careful about, this is where it’s like you have to be honest with yourself and not just listen to the voices around you.
0:43:54.1 MH: Yeah, yeah. It takes a lot of introspection.
0:44:00.5 TW: I will say that it has happened twice, and this is my third attempt, that I have actually left a company thinking that I was going to just kind of breathe for a little bit and figure out what to do next and just take that risk on. It’s nice to be a dual income household where I can do that.
0:44:17.9 TW: So far, I’ve been batting zero unsuccessfully doing that by the time I’ve left. I think this time I’m gonna pull off the, “Nope, I’m taking a breath and gonna see what happens.” But that has been a… It’s also at a certain point in the career, it is a case where when I do feel like I know I need to breathe, I need to have four or five hours a day that I can dabble and think about some stuff where I still have that energy. So that’ll be my…
0:44:53.3 MH: Well, take a breath. Enjoy SUPERWEEK, it’s in a couple of days.
0:44:58.1 TW: Coming up, a couple days.
0:45:00.1 MH: And let’s wrap this up. This is actually a really great conversation, I’m really glad that we talked about it and I feel a lot better. Thank you.
0:45:09.4 MH: Alright, one thing, and again, please let’s keep this between all of us, okay? For now. Anyway, one thing we like to do is go around the horn and share something that might be of interest to everybody. Let’s do Last Call. Moe, why don’t you kick us off today, what’s your last call?
0:45:26.7 MK: Well, I need to do a shoutout to one of the guys on my team, Diego, who shared this with me, and it did take me a little while to get around to reading it, but when I did, I was like, “Oh, I get why he shared it with me, this is so my thing.” It’s an article called, Means and Ends: When What Matters Most is Hardest To Measure, by Michelle-Joy Low. She’s a PhD, head of Data and AI at Reece Group.
0:45:50.6 MK: It is a phenomenal article which talks about success metrics for data teams, but also I guess the responsibility or the complexity, let’s say, when… We talked about in this exact episode, right, where a software team ships something, they’ve done it, tick. But with the data team often, with the way we measure success is a lot harder because it’s like, okay, well, if something goes wrong with say, an insight that’s gathered or a business decision maker makes a crappy decision, where does our responsibility end and start?
0:46:32.1 MK: As like, okay, we might have been up late trying to get something out to someone urgently, maybe someone’s misinterpreted the data, they’ve made a crappy decision. And what she’s really talking about is the fact that sometimes as a result of this complexity in the data world, we end up choosing ways to measure our success that are very… We pick things that are easy to measure, right? So like we ship this, we did this.
0:46:57.9 MH: A little bit. [chuckle]
0:47:00.1 MK: Yeah. And basically anything that falls in the “too hard” basket, we just don’t worry about. And she’s kind of advocating for a different way of thinking about it. And so how do we actually create ways to measure things that are measuring the things that actually matter? And there’s a whole bunch of stuff about culture and all sorts of stuff.
0:47:22.2 MK: Anyway, it’s totally my vibe, I highly recommend it. It’s on the datafuturology.com blog, and I’ll share it in the show notes. But there’s a bunch of interesting concepts in there about choice architecture. And anyway, I’m still wrapping my head around it, I’ve got like a 1000 more thought bubbles to have on it. So thank you, Diego, for sharing it with me.
0:47:41.6 TW: Nice.
0:47:45.6 MH: Alright. Well, Tim, what about you, what’s your last call?
0:47:48.2 TW: Well, I am looking forward to seeing some loyal listeners in a few days at SUPERWEEK. It’s probably too late to plug SUPERWEEK and have anybody, but hey, and I have no idea if there are still even spots open, but if you’re listening to this when it comes out and you can get a ticket to Budapest, hop on. But that’s not my last call.
0:48:07.8 TW: So I don’t know if you’re familiar with this thing called ChatGPT? No, I’m not gonna do a last call.
0:48:13.3 MH: No.
0:48:14.0 TW: It is not gonna be my take on ChatGPT. There are…
0:48:19.2 MH: I was gonna say, did you have ChatGPT write your last call? ‘Cause that would be hilarious. [chuckle]
0:48:23.1 TW: Right, yeah, “Write me a last call for the Analytics Power Hour.” What’s funny is that two things hit, and this was… One of them is a book called, The Verifiers, by Jane Pek. And this was… I’ve been kind of looking to find my next fiction writer to kinda get into. Which is funny, maybe don’t read the first and only book from an author, is not necessarily a good strategy for that.
0:48:45.0 TW: And I would even say, I’m not sure I would totally recommend the book, I don’t know that I loved the writing, but the premise of it was around dating applications and basically bots being fake things within it. It’s funny and it’s a fun read. But then somewhat more recently, still a little while back, the Endless Thread podcast has done a multi-part series on bots, casting a broad net around bots. And part five was, Good Bot, Bad Bot. Part Five, Dating bots.
0:49:16.0 TW: And so they actually dug into the use of bots in dating applications, both as kind of coaches for people who are using dating applications to help them get to a date by giving them suggested prompts for how to have an interaction. It’s funny it came out after ChatGPT had kinda blown up in the ether and they did not really acknowledge it at all, but it just gives you a sense of their production time, I was surprised they didn’t throw a little extra piece in front. But they did talk about GPT 3.
0:49:51.5 TW: So those two, having never been on a dating app, and I have no expectations of ever being on a dating app, I wish I could remember whether swipe left or swipe right is supposed to be the good one to just make pop culture references. But those two kind of came together and it was interesting.
0:50:07.4 TW: I do enjoy people’s takes on what does this stuff mean? And with the stuff GPT 3 has been doing, it was just interesting to me, there was a fiction book that came out last year, there was a podcast, and it would not have occurred to me at all that that sort of generative AI stuff would be playing in the world of Match.com. So it’s kind of interesting. Back to my long-winded stem-winder last calls, Michael, what have you got?
0:50:42.5 MH: Well, as luck would have it, I recently got into this paper that was written, it was actually written back in 2020. It’s called, Closing the AI Accountability Gap: Defining an End-to-End Framework For Internal Algorithmic Auditing. And I was reading through it, and I guess probably because of GPT, but also to show that we recently did with Renee Cummings, which I really enjoyed, just been a topic on my mind.
0:51:06.8 MH: But I like the paper in that, they did a very nice job. One of the authors is Timnit Gebru, who as of this paper is dating it a little bit, she was still at Google at the time, so that didn’t last, but I know she’s still in this field. So a lot of great authors.
0:51:22.5 TW: Was this the paper that wound up… Did she…
0:51:27.9 MH: I don’t know enough about it. I don’t know, so I shouldn’t… Anyways, they point is, they lay out a really nice framework to think about how to evaluate an AI and give roles to both internal and external teams to think through how to think about how you do this, from how you think of the scope of the AI and mapping and how you collect artifacts, and how you test it and how you reflect on it, and then what to do about it.
0:51:58.0 MH: So I just like that they’ve thought through this process, they brought some ideas from lots of other fields and things like that. So I felt like it was just a really good read, I enjoyed it, it was really helpful and it’s got me thinking a lot about, yeah, our future is definitely can interact with AI more and more.
0:52:14.2 MH: And I wanna be on the side of really thinking about it ahead of time before I sort of let it sweep me away into places I never wanted to go or be a part of. So I thought that’s pretty cool. Anyways, we’ll put the link to that in the show notes as well.
0:52:26.8 MH: As you’ve been listening, hey, maybe you’re not thinking about a job change, or maybe you are, but we’d love to hear from you, and the best way to do that is through the Measure Slack group or on Twitter or on LinkedIn. So reach out and we’re happy to chat a little bit and talk, and if you’ve got other ideas for the show, we’d love to hear those.
0:52:45.4 MH: And if you like the show why not throw us a rating or review on one of the apps that you listen to it on, whatever those are. ‘Cause now it used to be like, “Oh, on Apple,” but really now it’s Spotify and it’s Google and everybody else.
0:53:00.6 TW: You’re such an Android person, you get in trouble saying “Apple”. I feel like you actually…
0:53:04.4 MH: Apple. Well, I was like, is that the name for it? I never use iTunes anymore, and I don’t use Apple Podcasts and yeah, I don’t know what any of that ecosystem even is.
0:53:15.9 MH: And it’s actually funny ’cause I see sometimes when people fill out sticker requests that we have this funny question of like, “Hey, have you reviewed us on… ” And then like, “I don’t use Apple products.” I was like, “Yeah. That’s my people right there.”
0:53:27.2 MH: Anyways, the other person who is our people is our awesome producer, Josh Crowhurst, who we can’t go a show without thanking him for all he does for the podcast, so thank you, Josh. And remember, this is a tough topic and you’re not gonna get it right every time. And guess what, the best thing about it is you get lots and lots of chances, and no one decision is gonna make or break your career.
0:53:48.9 MH: And I know that it doesn’t make it easier to make choices, but I know I speak for both of my co-hosts, Moe and Tim, when I say, no matter where you are in that process of choosing that next job, keep analysing.
0:54:04.5 Announcer: Thanks for listening. Let’s keep the conversation going with your comments, suggestions and questions on Twitter at @Analytics Hour, on the web at analyticshour.io, our LinkedIn group, and the Measure chat Slack group. Music for the podcast by Josh Crowhurst.
0:54:21.4 Charles Barkley: So smart guys want to fit in, so they made up a term called “analytics”. Analytics don’t work.
0:54:28.3 Kamala Harris: I love Venn diagrams, it’s just something about those three circles and the analysis about where there is the intersection, right?
0:54:39.9 TW: Rock flag and don’t lie to yourself.
0:54:44.8 MH: Nice. [chuckle]
0:54:44.9 TW: I was struggling on that one. I was trying to figure out what the…
0:54:49.6 MH: No, that was pretty good.
0:54:51.2 MK: I think that was a good one. I mean like a…
0:54:54.2 TW: Sorry, I missed your last call entirely, ’cause I was panicking. I was panicking about what it’s gonna be. No, I…
0:55:01.1 MH: You were fine.
0:55:01.6 TW: I realised that I didn’t have a Rock flag. And right about as Michael was starting his last call, I was like…
0:55:08.2 MH: Oh, the a wind up?
0:55:11.0 TW: Yeah.
0:55:11.5 MH: I know that feeling. It’s like you get to end of the show and you’re like, “Do I really wanna do this last call or should I switch to something else?”
0:55:16.0 MK: I love that you guys have options. I have one, I have one option.
0:55:20.8 TW: On, no, no. A lot of times it’s just one. But sometimes there’s a couple of ideas I have and then I’m like, I’m not sure. And then sometimes I don’t like any of ’em and I don’t know what to do. [chuckle]
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