Life is dull without bluffing

On his head, that's pretty much the theme of the next CustomerFirst,' the new editor in chief, Nina van Klaveren, mailed me. How cool that a young woman with such talent has gotten this position. I warmly congratulate Nina on her new job! But that's not 'upside down' at all. That must be normal. You're a young woman, you have talent, a position comes up and you get it. Of course I will.

In my career, that didn't make any sense at all. I have to tell you honestly that positions passed my nose, because I was too young a woman. Didn't have enough experience. Didn't bring the right background with me.

And if I was competent. But the fact that I had an opinion and expressed it was less convenient. I didn't understand that for a long time and was even angry about it. In the end it was only good. Because I used that anger and powerlessness to develop myself. To give the activist in me a slightly more useful voice and to learn how to play the game in organisations. I am glad that there is attention for diversity. For equal opportunities. Corona or no corona, positions will be freed up and they will go to the colleague with the best papers, with the most relevant experience or the one who is going to learn a lot from it. You yourself have a role in this. I still plead for expressing your ambition. For guts and daring.

When I was team manager I once said to a colleague: "Without a bluff, life is dull". I had just learned that when someone asks about your ambition, it's useful to mention the position that is two steps (echelons) higher. That will stick. I wouldn't be Nienke Bloem if I hadn't made three steps of that. The Board of Directors seemed a good place for me. So some bluff and ambition is not strange to me. Even though I had to learn to pronounce them. Now that I have been an entrepreneur for five years, I am CEO, CCO, CFO and therefore CVA: Chief of Everything. I go forward, even in times of corona. Because being an entrepreneur is the verb entrepreneurship. Seeing opportunities, being visible, sharing value and going with that banana. Perhaps more than ever, I give you and everyone else opportunities and a dose of entrepreneurship. If, on your career ladder, you ever find yourself in a situation where you are going to be modest, remember the quote of this old rot: without a bluff, life is dull.


This blog was written for CustomerFirst and published on 17 June 2020

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