Run The Day

At some point or another I heard a quote that goes something along the lines of

"Either you run the day, or the day runs you."

John Rohn (according to ChatGPT)

This quote is something that I don't think I fully appreciated early in my career. During my grad scheme I was keen to impress, learn and, to be completely honest, keep up. I did a degree in Physics and when I finished I joined a grad scheme at BT in Software Engineering. Ok I could build a website, write enough C++ to model expanding gasses and noodle around with MatLab but I was out of my depth.

I very much enjoyed the work I was doing at BT but later in my career I began to notice that the work I was doing wasn't really being rewarded. Before I left BT I had applied for, and not gotten, a promotion. This didn't track, I was leading a web team of 3 other engineers and I had hit or exceeded the goals set out for me - surely I was good at my job?

Fortunately I applied for another role where I "tested myself in the market" and got a job at a different company with a much larger salary, huge impact and a team of incredibly smart people to learn from (the company formerly known as Twitter).

What about the quote?

Sooner or later I realised that I wasn't choosing my path - the day was running me so to say.

Thinking back to my time at BT now I was rolling through the motions towards the end career. I was happy enough working away in my role as I was still growing (at least in a small part) and the work was interesting enough. This was true of my personal life too and it took a bit of a jolt to get my out of the funk.

Following the end of one relationship I found myself living alone in Leeds. It was a great time to sit with myself and figure out who I wanted to be or even who I was. These few months of solitude (and frequent visits from a solid group of friends) were enough to break the hold that routine had over me. Since the first time I moved to London I wanted to live here and I felt it was out of reach given just how expensive it is to live here.

I took the leap, applied for the job and got a job, in London.

Run today, tomorrow and each day after that

I left Leeds and moved to London determined to make the most of the chances here. Since I have been here I've lived all those little fantasies I had about life in London. I have worked amongst some of the smartest people I've met and learned so much as a result. It doesn't always go smoothly but so long as I keep owning today, and the decisions I make, then it very often works out in the end.

Part of the reason I'm reflecting on this now is that I've found myself in a situation, once more, where the day is running me.

My younger self would probably roll on and more power to him. I will not. I have a solid idea of the kind of culture, team and company I want to be part of. Some of this comes from me, the way I interact with those around me and the environment I create. As with most relationships however, it can't be one sided and there's success to be had when everyone pulls in the same direction.

So I'm probably not running today but I am busy warming up.

First appeared on Trusty Interior, last update 26 Nov 2023