A career story from the ground to the cloud to even higher than the cloud
SAP HR Operations, Cloud Services, or known to SAP HR as the HOCS Team, is the team whom I had the privilege to lead during my first ever experience as a team manager. Up to this day, I can still recall the first day I joined this team in 2016 and I honestly never had the idea (or even the intention) that a year later, I would be leading the team.
Eversince starting my career in HR, I was always 101% sure that my career path was towards the individual contributor and expert role. I always felt as if my personality and skill set wouldn’t match the skills needed to lead a team. Then the opportunity to be a team manager opened in 2017. Without any interest, I did not even pay attention to the announcement regarding the hunt for the next manager. But then, life seemingly had a different plan than what I had for myself. Some of my peers & mentors started asking me why I am not grabbing the opportunity to expand my horizon. It was several weeks of hard “no” until one mentor asked me “what is there to lose?” and that made me think so hard.
Fast forward to this day, I am extremely grateful to peers and mentors who make you see the other side of the fence. The question “what is there to lose” has been a mantra I keep on repeating in my head every time I make a decision or when I am feeling anxious about taking on any task. It was the same question I answered when I took on the people manager role, and the same question I answered when I moved back to the individual contributor/expert career path after being a people manager for more than two years.
Was it difficult to let go of the people manager role? No. Was it hard to let go of what has grown to be my comfort zone that is my team? Absolutely. It was a pivotal moment for me thinking that I will no longer have those one on one conversations with my team that I treasured so much – this was something I thought I lost. But looking at it, I did not lose those one on one conversations but rather, I have gained memories and the confidence that we made an impact in each other’s lives and taught each other a thing or two we’ll carry with us whichever path we choose. So still.. the answer to the “what is there to lose” question is.. “nothing”.
Sometimes, people may see me being fickle minded switching back and forth in between the people manager and individual contributor career paths but at the end of the day, I see it as not being about the title, path, position, or even team. It’s about picking up on those #experiences and #momentsthatmatter and using it to develop yourself – doing yourself a favor and exploring the side of you and your skills which you never thought was there in the first place.
I do not see it as “my achievements or challenges as a manager or as an individual contributor” but rather “what I learned and discovered about my strengths and areas for opportunity in my journey”. Ultimate proof? I joined a Cloud Solutions team without any knowledge about the Cloud and I came out of it with more knowledge and experience than I ever expected.
I am grateful to be part of a company and an organization that makes me feel comfortable to believe that it’s not always about the title, position, or team. Regardless of where I am or what I am doing in the organization, the probability to succeed or fail is 99.9% dependent on me and my willingness to learn and be developed. It’s not always easy, and never will be. But everything is worth a try. After all, what is there to lose?