I worked in the same industry for almost 20 years. I had so much legacy and historical knowledge along with long term customer relationships. For hundreds of folks, I was their first Zeiss Calypso basic software trainer. They learned the ropes from me and I felt appreciated. I watched colleagues switch from the manufacturer to the distributor to the customer and I knew who was who in the zoo.
When it was time for me to make a big career shift, I was scared. For the first time in a very long time, I wouldn’t be the one who knew everyone. I wouldn’t have all those “remember when… ” stories. I wouldn’t be the one with the answers anymore.
I shifted from the world of manufacturing and engineering to be an analyst at one of the largest banks in the US. All of a sudden, I was the “new kid.” In fact, they called me an “off the street” hire because I didn’t already come from another bank. I didn’t know how an analyst was “supposed” to act. I didn’t know status quo. I didn’t have preconceived notions. I didn’t know the rules I was supposed to follow.
I knew the basic principles of my job and I went full steam ahead. I was persistent. I asked a lot of questions. I asked for helped. I was eager to learn. I wasn’t afraid to speak up when a process didn’t make sense. It turns out that my attitude was refreshing. It turns out that I was getting more done than other folks. I didn’t create imaginary barriers and I just worked to the best of my ability.
In the end, I learned that even though legacy information is important, sometimes a fresh perspective can be even more respected and appreciated. I put too much emphasis on what I thought was important because I personally didn’t know any other world but the one I was in for so long.