Winning “The Lottery” On Your Own Terms

In our last post, we talked about how some people are drawn to the idea of making it big in an expensive area like New York or San Francisco while working for one of the top companies in the tech space. We often refer to this idea as “winning the lottery.” Many see themselves winning “the lottery” on the basis of the company that hires them, the role they step into and the salary they command.

However, it can also be argued that winning the lottery has other definitions as well. In fact, winning can be had in the form of working on your own terms.

For example, we were speaking with a highly educated technologist who shared with us a story of his first day on the job at Goldman Sachs over 10 years ago. On day one, he looked his boss straight in the eye and said, “I will not work more than 12 hours a day.”

That’s not a statement most people would make on their first day or perhaps any day! Nonetheless, that’s exactly what he was able to do. Now, that’s not to say those boundaries weren’t tested. On several occasions, if his day was to be done at 6:30pm, at 6:15pm his boss would stroll up to his desk, start talking about what needed to be done and, of course, how it needed to be done right away.

However, the technologist wasn’t going to bend. Once again, just as he had on his first day, he looked his boss in the eye and said, “Remember what I said about how long I work. Therefore, I will jump on this right away the first thing tomorrow morning.” And then he would promptly leave the office. Meanwhile, several other people stayed longer, fuming that they were putting in 14-hour days and burning out not long after.

Since that time, this individual has gone on to work for Google, where he finds that Google’s main priority is your level of production. He only has to attend one meeting per day. This is important to him because with a wife and two kids in the suburbs, he is passionate about maintaining a proper quality of life – not having his work interfere with his lifestyle. He doesn’t have to live in the heart of Manhattan either. He’s perfectly comfortable living in New Jersey and commuting to Manhattan.

Calling your own shots at work so you can have what you want in life – that certainly qualifies as winning “the lottery,” doesn’t it?

Some may view this example as unrealistic, but is it really? If you have a powerful set of skills as this particular technologist possesses, you may have a degree of some leverage in asking for certain things of an employer within reason, i.e. working no more than 12 hours a day compared to 14 hours a day or having a hard stop at 6:30pm. Let’s face it – he wasn’t asking to work for only four hours per day or leave every day at 2:00pm. He simply wanted to ensure that the quality of his time at home would not suffer due to continuous overwork.

Yes, being in the right environment with values that matched his own also played a part too. Candidates working with Roy Talman & Associates don’t experience this feeling by accident or luck. We carefully understand what both sides of the table, employer and potential employee, want in one another. Our deep insights on a company’s culture, its managers and the career path possibilities within the walls of the business can help us steer candidates toward more of the ideal fit in every way.

When that perfect match is found, the feeling is very much like winning “the lottery” for all parties involved – a win for the person starting a new chapter in their career and a win for the hiring manager who brings in that rare talent who may impact the company in phenomenal ways for years to come.