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Facing Your Inner Demons: How People Who Love Fresh Challenges Thrive at IBM

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(3 min read) by Renjith VP

Fresh from our Halloween celebrations last week, I can’t help but think about the Halloween of 2015 when I was in a tough spot. I was working with a firm that was into mobile entertainment solutions. I wrote content for a few of their phone-in games, something like this:

“Mango is a fruit. A)Yes B)No SMS the right answer to 888 & get a chance to win an SUV or meet your favorite film star!”

Writing such 120-character SMS content would be fun for the first few days. But then the monotony would set in. You keep pushing yourself, one day at a time. Then, after a few thousands of these, you would reach the end of your proverbial rope!

The week following Halloween, I quit the job.

I took a break for the next five months to seriously contemplate on my career as a writer. After having switched four companies in a 5-year span as a writer, I was not finding the drive to go the extra mile anymore. I wanted to rejuvenate the writer in me. So, I started taking up freelance projects. But the only certainty with freelance is uncertainty, not knowing when the next gig would be. As days passed, I got desperate. I wanted to get back to a real job – with an opportunity to grow, challenging and nurturing me to advance as a writer. That’s when I was referred by one of my friends for a freelance project with IBM. Surprisingly, the freelance discussion turned out to be a job interview and then, a job offer!

Winning the MI-50 challenge, an intra-organization competition that poses a business challenge to be solved in 50 hours using out-of-box ideas

Long story short, I found myself as a marketing content writer at IBM India by May 2016. My initial responsibilities included a collaboration with Digital Centre, a team that executed marketing campaigns for IBM Cloud and Analytics in the Asia-Pacific region. I worked on various marketing assets – from mailers to social media posts and blogs, and occasionally worked on case studies as well. I was familiar with the technology from my previous stints and freelance projects. However, this time, I approached the work with yearning thirst, not having written anything serious for over a year and half.

Unlike the jobs before, there’s something with IBM that always stood out. Every day feels different in here. Nobody held you back from trying things differently. Work was no more about doing the same task over and over again. And there was always a fresh challenge around the corner when you are ready to look for it. I am not saying that you won’t hit the wall even once. The fact is, when you do, IBM offers more than one way to channel your demotivated self to something better.

Four Halloweens later and here I am finding myself immersed in learning programs and new challenges. The fact that IBM offers programs like Peter Pan, where one can shadow a mentor or expert from any vertical in IBM and learn new skills, speaks volumes about its diversity. Last year, I got a chance to participate in MI50, an intra-organization competition that poses a business challenge to be solved in 50 hours using out-of-box ideas. This year, I joined the IBM Toastmaster Club that opens the door for many to public speaking.

These are all but several nuances of an eco-system that’s rooted in learning and creating value. IBM is not about being stagnant in your career, but about being essential. It has allowed me to constantly push my limits and be a better version of myself.

About the Author

Renjith VP is a Content Specialist based in Bangalore, India. He joined IBM in May 2016 as  Marketing Content Writer after a 5-year writing stint spanning across journalism, copywriting and content writing. He completed his MA in Communication at Amrita School of Communication. Apart from writing and exploring new challenges at IBM, he is also passionate about films, and run an Instagram film review page while also attempting his own feature film screenplay.


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