16 December 2010

Boost your ego, leave your job

This week I announced that I will be leaving Océ to take on a new challenge as Corporate Communications Senior Manager at Amgen Europe. B.V.
I am really looking forward to my new job, but what I wanted to write about in this blog post is not the content of my current or my new job.

I just wanted to share with you how amazed I am about the enormous amount of sweet, positive, heartwarming messages I got. I talked about this with a few people who had switched jobs too, and they all said the same. All of a sudden people with a role to play become just regular human beings again. Wow, life is so much better if we connect on a human-to-human level instead of a role-to-role level. I know it is impossible not to play a role, but still; I am convinced that it pays out to just be yourself, in any given situation.

In the Netherlands there is a famous book about life in the corporate world, called hoe word ik een rat? (how to become a rat). In a funny way it describes that one needs to become a bit of a rat to survive in the corporate jungle. Push the right buttons at the right time, make yourself visible or invisible at the right time, use you elbows, play the politics game really well. Or, as my manager states it: “success has many fathers, failure one project manager”. Indeed, that is how it often works.

This is a bold statement, but I know I am not a corporate rat. Sure, I loose the occasional battle from a rat. Yes, I am too modest about my successes (although with this blog I am trying to prove the opposite…), but in the long run I still have enough successes to celebrate. My career is still in an upward mode. That’s really nice, but that is not the only reason why I have been walking with a big smile on my face all week. In fact, more important is the fact that all the positive feedback I received proved to me that it pays out to just be yourself. There is room for being genuine in the corporate world, and that is a very encouraging thought.

I’d like to dedicate this blog post to my father. He spent his working life quite high up in the hierarchy of the corporate world, and when he died at the age of 59, his 200 or so business friends disappeared from our lives within two months. Some of these people had worked with him for over 25 years and had seen me grow up. What I learned from that awful experience is that life is too precious to play a game. Or as Stephen Covey states: there is no one who says at their deathbed:’ I really regret that I didn’t spend more time at the office’.


  1. Well said. And congratulations. Amgen is getting one of the best in the business.

  2. Thank Mike, that is a huge compliment.

  3. Hi Jan, this is great news and thank you for your wisdom. You are absolutely right!

  4. Jan your blog post is so very true and sincere. Thank you.
    I also think that some high-positioned people in corporate world could become the true leaders if they would have the ability to be hard on content, but respectful on relationship. Unfortunately some of them got on the top because they played this "rat" role :-) being to hard on relationships. I would say; stay as you are the new era is coming with Generations Y and X who will not tolerate these kind of leaders. Enjoy your new job!

  5. Thanks Edita, hopefully one day we'll get the opportunity to work together!