Kevin Legere

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Why I left the best job I ever had

Photo by Mukuko Studio on Unsplash

I spent the last 10 years working for an amazing tech company called Galvanize. I got to work on products that transformed an industry and impacted the world in a positive way. I made lifelong friends, learned more than I can write in a single post and most importantly, I loved my work. It was the best job I ever had. One where I got to play a role in growing a small start up into a Vancouver tech unicorn. But that’s a story for another day.

Today I want to tell you why I left the best job I ever had.

There have been several points in my career where I was at a crossroads. The work was still interesting, but no longer exciting. For ten years I was able to find that next step or new challenge internally at Galvanize. But this was different. I wanted to test myself with something entirely new. I yearned for something fresh.

So I started to look around and ask myself:

  • Where are my interests pulling me?
  • What do I want to learn?
  • How do I need to grow?

As I reflected back on my career, I realized that all my best growth as a person and a leader has come when I was in over my head. When I had no idea what I was doing or how I was going to do it. In these moments I was forced into rapid growth out of necessity. Our fearless leader and (former) CEO Laurie Schultz likes to say:

Leaders make promises they don’t know how to keep, then spend all of their time living up to their word.

People who think this statement leads to false promises have missed the point. It’s not about creating unrealistic expectations. It’s about setting the bar high, being in over your head and using all of the resources at your disposal to find a path forward.

There is no better way to put it, than using another quote from Laurie:

Leaders create a future that otherwise would not have existed.

No matter the outcome, this is where you can experience real growth. If you fail, you will have learned some new things and have gained a much deeper understanding of the problem you are solving. If you succeed, then you accomplished something amazing! These are the moments in time that you will look back on and say to yourself, “that’s when we took a massive step forward”.

I got to experience this many times at Galvanize. The job and the people taught me how to set the bar high, be comfortable with ambiguity and find a way to create a future that otherwise would not have existed.

More often than not we succeeded. When we fell short, we owned it and learned from it. We took our learnings and went back to the whiteboard with a fresh perspective.

So what now?

Clarity emerged when I found an underserved market that was directly related to one of my interests. A Product Managers dream. I didn’t know how deep this rabbit hole would go right away. I chipped away away at the problem for 8 months. A little bit at a time, I would dig into it, the market opportunity and the alternatives available. I finally came to a point where I couldn’t progress any further without focussing 100% on it. So I decided to leave the best job I ever had, to pursue a passion and a dream.

Today is my first official day on the job as founder and CEO of a BC based tech company. We have 2 employees (including me), no customers, no revenue and no product. What could possibly go wrong?

We are in WAY over our heads and I’m already loving every moment. I know that we are in the honeymoon phase. I know that the wave of struggle is on the horizon. Luckily for me, I have a wealth of experiences to draw from. I learned from some of the best leaders in the industry and feel confident in my ability to navigate this journey.

I can’t wait to share our product with the world. I plan to keep writing about our journey, our products and my learnings over the years of shipping software. Until then, see you later and thanks for reading 👋