Water Cooler Blues, Big Heads and Happy Thanksgiving

20161123 Water Cooler Crying 221x300 Water Cooler Blues, Big Heads and Happy ThanksgivingI stood there, crying next to the water cooler (okay, I wasn’t crying, but certainly tearing up). I was at a client site, where I had walked over to the kitchen area, and it just struck me – “I would never have a water cooler conversation ever again!”. I now realize, I was being a bit dramatic, but the adjustment from full-time employment to freelance consulting was certainly not an easy one for me.

I had been at one or the other large company all my life – Hughes, Lucent, AOL, WaMu Bank and for the last six years of my life – at Microsoft. For all the trials and tribulations of employment, I was lucky to have had usually an amazing team of people that I worked with. At Microsoft, I remember team outings for Mini-Golf tournament, Kayaking, Go-Kart racing, and certainly lots and lots of water cooler conversations. I enjoyed working at Microsoft and the decision to leave was not an easy one (more on that someday in a separate post).

“I would never have a water cooler conversation ever again!”

Working at PowerPivotPro has certainly been amazing. Most of all the opportunity to work with Rob and now we have a growing team of Pros. Some days I have to pinch myself. But the reality is, we’re all over the USA. Seattle, Indianapolis, Portland, Birmingham, San Francisco, Chicago…and I know I have missed a few cities. That usually translates to a lot of Skype calls, working from home and travel when I visit clients onsite (even though I have recently refocused on the Seattle area). A very nomadic existence, at least compared to my previous life.

I struggled at times, feeling bereft. Then came the Microsoft Data Insights Summit in March 2016.

Our book had been out since January 2016 and of course I had been blogging, running webinars etc since Oct 2014. But it was still a bit of a shock, when the first stranger recognized me…and then it didn’t stop.

“Avi, I’ve read your book…”

“Avi, I attended your webinar…”

“Avi, I met you at the user group…”

“Avi, I have watched your YouTube videos…”

“Avi, you had given me career advice…”

One of my favorite moments happened when I was running late for a session. I walked in late, and the only room was up front in the first row. I sat between two gentlemen and they both immediately turned to me and said “Avi….”. Well they knew me from somewhere.

If I were to say that none of that went to my head – I would be lying.

20161123 AviSingh LargeHead 227x300 Water Cooler Blues, Big Heads and Happy Thanksgiving
Big Head Avi

Still, I felt connected, as if I was part of something bigger. It felt good.

I would love to say that things have been all smooth sailing since then, but there are highs and lows in any life. Even when one is living their dream, as I’ve realized.

But you have been the ray of light in the dark tunnels that I find myself in from time to time. You have been the hand that reaches out when I’m drowning. You have been my north star when I’ve been lost and directionless. By helping you, I have helped myself.

In one such moment of self-doubt, I was chatting with Rob on skype, and he said…
“Avi, think about the number of people you have touched, that you have impacted. Then think about who they have impacted using what they learned from you…”
And it was like a light came on inside my soul. “I am worthy“. A glimmer in the moment, but enough to keep me going and to eventually get out of the funk.

(Gosh, I am tearing up again…even though there are no water coolers in sight)

I will always keep looking for ways to give back and help the community. My #GivePowerBI beta program is the latest effort. But sometimes I wonder…who’s helping whom here?!

By helping you, I have helped myself

All I really want to say is Thank You! Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Power On!
-Avi Singh

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