1.14.2009

Still Playing Middle Halfback

I guess I was destined for middle management: my favorite position in soccer growing up was middle halfback.

Let me explain. Typically, in soccer there are three tiers of players: the forwards play closer to the opponent's goal, the fullbacks closer to your own goal, and halfbacks are in the middle. So halfbacks help out on both the offensive and defensive side of things; and the middle halfback has to be concerned with both the left and right side of the field.

Now, my style wasn't to literally be all over the place; after all, I was only average in speed and endurance. I just liked being involved in the whole field, rather than focused on a limited part of it.

Fast forward to my first job, when I played middle man between my boss and everyone else. Our org chart was like an inverted umbrella, so I got to do things with and for my boss, as well as manage everyone else underneath me. It made for a fun if challenging variety of responsibilities, from boss-level to grunt-level, as well as a fresh perspective and a unique vantage point from which to have influence.

In my current job, there are also three tiers of bodies, although it is more a pyramid than an upside-down umbrella. Principals are principally involved in bringing in business, while analysts are principally involved in doing the work on the business. We directors are tasked with bringing it all together: doling out pieces of each job (up, down, and sideways, depending on who's good at what and who's free), making sense of all the parts, and writing the final report that brings it all together.

Of course, in addition to that important role, we have the opportunity to be principal-like in beating the bushes for business, through our own networks and networking. And we have the opportunity to be analyst-like in physically slogging through parts of jobs that we tend to like or are good at or are left for us when no one is available to perform them.

In other words, in the field that is our firm, we find ourselves playing middle halfback again. I wouldn't have it any other way.
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