After 20 years, I had fallen out of love with my job.

animation by Fulya Toper

You know how it goes: One day you wake up, and you know that you have lost the enjoyment for your work. The thrill is gone. There’s nothing like a global pandemic to make you realize nothing is forever.

Now, to be clear: There was nothing wrong with my job. I was making a very decent living, I worked with great, smart clients, and most of all I was surrounded by a team of extraordinarily talented people. I had a trustworthy business partner, a committed team, a proven track record. I was switching hats with ease, day after day. I knew the drill.

But I no longer felt fulfilled. The more I looked at it, the less I wanted to go on like that. After 20 years in business, the resilience and the longevity of the company I was leading had started to feel like a trap. I knew I had to look for a way to get my passion back, to be inspired again… Maybe now was even the time to start a new career?

So I devoured all the must-have management and leadership books, listened to numerous inspiring podcasts, attended a few great (and some not-so-great) video conferences, looked with fresh eyes for exciting opportunities and new business ideas.

Lots of ideas popped up, but none convinced me enough to really go for it. I was longing for the excitement I once felt when we launched Walking Men so many years ago, when everything was on the line, day after day. The thrill. The possibilities. But nothing felt quite right. It went on for quite a few frustrating weeks. It’s a process.

And then, one day, I realised that the challenge I was looking for was actually really close at hand — so close that I had not even noticed it.

The challenge I was looking for is standing right in front of me, here in my beloved Walking Men — all it took to see it was a crazy decision: In 2021 I will no longer manage Walking Men. There, I said it. (And yes, we are now officially looking for a super motivated and ambitious man or woman to take over my job as General Manager).

I am more inspired than ever to make the company grow, but I can’t do that if my focus is spread too thin. Too many hats, so little time. In retrospect I wonder why it had been so difficult to come to that realization: To be a business owner is a never-ending journey of re-inventing one’s business, and one should not be afraid of change. After all, change is the only constant, right?

Now is the time to once again take the agency to the next level and that’s a journey I definitely want to be part of.

My new challenge will be to grow the agency’s strategic capabilities, develop new exciting services, set up a process for continuous learning, actively bringing innovation and trend watching into the daily practices of our agency.

To be able to do that to the very best of my abilities, I am happy to (very carefully) put the day-to-day business decisions in new trusted and talented hands. Today, I want to work for the future again, and build strong foundations for Walking Men to grow and prosper.

My story may not be a shocking revelation to most, but if you too feel trapped in a project that used to be exactly what you wanted in life, but isn’t anymore; if you are at that point where profound change seems out of reach, here’s my two cents: sometimes a fresh look at your current situation can open up new opportunities, and the door you were trying to open was in front of you all along.

And if you are an ambitious person who is dreaming of managing a talented and ambitious pool of creative people? This may be your lucky day.

You can see the full job description and apply right here
👉 www.walkingmen.com/general-manager

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Katelijne van loo

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