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Engineering · 5 min read

Grow your career through the Intersection of Opportunity

Mark Isham
Posted March 29, 2022
Grow your career through the Intersection of Opportunity

Have you ever noticed it's easier to learn something new when you are excited about the outcome? For example, maybe you’re finally buying that new TV. You learn all about refresh rates, price vs screen size, OLED vs LCD, 4k vs 8k, and what the heck is HDR. Or maybe you’re shopping for that new dream car. You dive deep on mpg, 0-60 ratings, and even speaker wattage. 

Whatever that interest, you envision yourself in a future where that dream becomes reality. You see yourself hanging that new TV on the wall, or driving that new car off the lot. You become invested in that outcome and seek to learn everything about it. Nobody asked you to do that - you learn because you’re excited…and it’s fun!

When working at FullStory, we strive to tap into that same mindset. We want you to be invested in the outcome - it leads to your best work, and gosh darn it’s just more fun

The Intersection of Opportunity

At FullStory, we know our teams do their best work when they are actively excited about what they are working on. Might sound obvious, but many get this wrong. And more perplexing, a good outcome can often be achieved by asking one simple question:

“What do you want to work on?”

Just that. A simple question… but a powerful one. And when taken seriously, magic can happen. 

I like to call this magic the Intersection of Opportunity.

What do YOU want?

Within FullStory, we hold 1:1s in deep regard. It's a psychologically safe zone with your manager to receive feedback, give feedback, and develop your career. They can be an incredibly illuminating experience. As part of these exchanges, the question, “What do you want to work on?” will come up again and again.

We don’t ask this simply because we are nice people (although we are). We ask this to best match up the Intersection of Opportunity. As a company, our ambition is large, and with that ambition there is a lot of work to be done. We thrive on that work, it’s exciting and challenging! And with that work comes a huge amount of opportunity. There is always SOMETHING out there that speaks to your own personal interests. 

It always amazes me to learn the likes and dislikes of others. Personally, I despise reviewing legal contracts. Never could stomach it. But others love it, and that’s awesome. Many people couldn’t sit in front of a computer all day and write code, and that’s fine too. We’re all wired differently, and it’s those differences that make the overall team stronger.

An effective manager realizes this, and works to match those differences in a manner that works best for the team. And when matching those differing interests with skill and need, the true magic occurs.

So how specifically does this intersection work?

Intersection of opportunity venn diagram

Interest

This is what you want to work on, and is powered by your own intrinsic motivation. You bring this with you when you enter the virtual halls of FullStory, and inevitably it evolves over time. Maybe you want to become a better React developer, or perhaps scaling a world class Solr infrastructure tickles your fancy. Your interests motivate your desire to learn. You see an outcome you want to achieve, and you’re passionate about achieving that dream.

Need

This is the work that needs to be done, and is driven by extrinsic factors pertaining to the business. While you often may not have direct control over the needs of the company, you can influence your own outcome by gravitating towards situations where the needs match your interests. 

For example, if you want to become a world class React developer, you’ll likely have an opportunity at FullStory. If you want to be a world class chef, you might want to visit the Culinary Institute instead.

Skill

Skill comes from experience and your own internal drive. You may have years of relevant industry experience scaling Solr, or a proven track record of learning new UX frameworks. Skill does not necessarily mean you’ve “done the thing,” but rather you’ve developed an aptitude in adjacent areas and a track record of getting stuff done. Developing that skill over time can grow into greater opportunities.

Interest + Need + Skill = Magic

The intersection of interest, need and skill is where the magic happens. If you are keenly interested in a specific type of work, the business has a need for that type of work, and you have proven skills that map to the work, the best of all possible outcomes is achieved. The results are often successful, the business values that outcome, and you personally feel enriched and satisfied doing that work.

Now of course achieving this ideal balance is not always possible. You may be keenly interested in being a CFO someday. That doesn’t mean you can become the CFO simply by asking your manager. You need to hone those skills over time through incremental steps and a track record of success. Each project builds on the previous, and aligning your interests with realistic steps will move you closer to your dream with each success. At FullStory we encourage those honest career conversations and work hard to provide incremental opportunities for those who seek them on the path to their dreams.

In closing

As FullStory managers, we are always asking, “What do you want to work on?” not just to be nice, but to encourage your career and match your interests to opportunities whenever possible. That journey will inevitably proceed through incremental steps along the way, but the path is highly rewarding, good for the business, and (most importantly) the right thing to do. 

We are looking for inspired and talented teammates to help us improve. If this culture appeals to you, come join us on our mission!

Want a perfect website or app? FullStory can help. Request a demo today.

Author
Mark IshamVP, Channels Engineering

About the author

Mark Isham is a proven engineering leader at FullStory with over 25 years experience leading high performing teams in hyper-growth SaaS companies.

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