The top 5 moments that had the biggest impact on my career

By ShayneT  -  On 05 Apr, 2014 -  10 comments

When I reflect a little on where my career is today and where I was over 20 years ago, one thing that’s never changed is the blood sweat and tears I put into everything I do, and the growing list of people I will have an everlasting appreciation and respect for.

I do tend to look forward rather than back, but there there were some unmistakeable moments that at the time seemed pretty insignificant, were extremely profound in my story today. The top 5 in chronological order were.

1. Having a beer with one of my best mates just before Christmas.

The early days of my working life were pretty aimless. I had left a world of sport as a teenager and had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I built semi-trailer trucks, delivered pools in one of the most unsafe vehicles I’ve ever driven, worked in warehouses and built the odd website here and there. I got a job, the first one I could find, because that’s what people told me I had to do.

It was only by chance that I had a beer with a friend just before Christmas who mentioned that the company he worked for were desperate for call centre staff to handle a big jump in demand that was about to happen. I needed some Christmas spending money so thought why not. He gave me all the right answers to the interview questions they were going to ask and I got the job.

After being on the phones for 4 weeks, I got tapped on the shoulder as someone who knew how to build websites. I said sure, and was put on an 8-week secondment to create their intranet. Deciding that a text only intranet was boring I proceeded to teach myself ASP and JavaScript so I could built some cool interactive web applications (as cool as they could be in the 90s).

4 years later I found myself running a team of 8, working on 8 figure contract deals and some might say a young professional. My career had begun.

2. Meeting a guy called Paul Inkster

Paul was the contract manager for the call centre I worked for and he was the first person that truly inspired me in businesses. Not only did he take a very naive me under his wing, he showed me that passion as well as logic had a place in business. Made me believe that caring about the people you work for (or with) is just important as the processes and the red tape.

Before I met Paul work was just a means to fund the weekend, after, that it could be much more rewarding. Paul was also the person that dragged me into marketing. He’d left to work for an energy company and pencilled me in for a role managing door-to-door sales people and telemarketers. With blind faith in Paul I said sure, why not, and off to marketing did I go.

3. Took a pay cut to work for a company called SitePoint

I still remember vividly the day, with my team in an earshot, one of my colleagues coming over to my desk, slamming down a piece of paper and saying ‘I’ve found the perfect job for you’. Turns out he was right!

It was a huge change for me at the time. A big pay check, a luxury office in the top end of town in a huge and stable company that was sure to be around longer that I was, to a tiny little office with a handful of others in a dodgy part of town and a pay cut.

It was probably the boldest move I’ve ever made and one of the best. During my time at SitePoint we achieved some amazing things, but it wasn’t the things we did that made it significant, it was the comment from my partner Juz a month after I started “I don’t know what they are feeding you at SitePoint, but you’ve become a better person since your first day”. That’s what mattered.

4. Introduced to a guy called Darren Rowse

My boss at the time at SitePoint Luke kept mentioning this guy Darren that he knew was doing some pretty cool stuff with this photography site. He kept saying for months we should go and grab a coffee and have a chat to see if there were any opportunities. I kept looking at the site and not seeing it.

Finally the meeting happened and whilst it was pretty clear that Darren and I were very different people, it was clearer we shared a very similar set of values — we just clicked.

Many years, launches, campaigns, joint ventures, conferences, and hours and hours and hours of Skype chats, it’s been a fast paced by rewarding journey. And something I’m very proud off. The ProBlogger Community is the latest and I’m sure not last thing we’ve created together.

5. Decided to leave the predicable pay check

I’ve always had a burning desire to get out on my own. For two decades I’ve made a lot of money for others, and whilst they all paid me well it was time to directly earn some of my own.

It wasn’t a busy period at all, my partner had just become pregnant and we were looking at a single income, the company I was working for had just been bought out and was going through a huge transformation.

However one of my mentors told me at the time, with a family on the way, the longer you wait, the harder it’s going to be and to really think about what’s the worse that could happen.

After a conversation with Juz, it happened and is the opening of a new chapter in my career.

So that’s my top 5 moments I think that had the biggest impact on my career. Let’s hope for some more in the years to come!