Banking and publishing: two industries about which many have already penned an obituary. So why did I leave the technology sector and join an information resource to the financial community that many have never heard of? Let me explain…
When I graduated from W&L in '99, I did so with a B.A. in Politics. I had interned at a think tank in Washington, D.C., played four years of varsity baseball, and was a member of Kathekon. I probably should have worked harder as a freshman or at least tried to make up for it my next three years. But I had a lot of fun at W&L and generally did the things I thought would interest potential employers.
So when the chance to join a firm like Anderson Consulting or a start-up tech company failed to materialize, I have to admit that I was pretty frustrated. At the same time, many of my fraternity brothers rejoiced at their signing bonuses or fancy job offers.
I took the one entrepreneurial job opportunity I had available with a small Brentwood, TN based publishing company. The catch? They insisted I move to New York City on a salary that didn't allow me to cover my rent let alone buy my first suit. Still, my parents taught me that you go where the work is, and I had to get my foot in the workforce somehow. Once I did, wow! I found that if you listen, work hard, stay positive, and show sincere interest, your lot in life improves quickly.
As I took on more responsibilities, I became a "road warrior." As I changed jobs over time and met people like me (and not so like me), I realized that being in a creative environment trumped drawing a salary from a big name company. I also had a desire to build something and not just manage to existing expectations or processes.
So the chance to re-join the first company I'd worked for following a sale of half its assets to the NYSE proved irresistible. For me, the challenge to build upon an established brand (Bank Director) while introducing new projects, technologies, data, and staff is a really exciting way to earn a living regardless of industry or clientele. It's the best of both worlds: the cultural feel of a start-up complemented by the reputation and recognition within one exclusive part of a very large, old-school industry.
Rather than being afraid of taking a job in the media/publishing space that has seen business models come and go or rendered obsolete, I see opportunities to quickly experiment, differentiate, and innovate. These qualities are something I've found larger, more established organizations aren't structured to nurture or really encourage. So for those looking for something that a.) pays, and b.) encourages innovation, let me suggest looking for job opportunities in places that aren't as hip or cool as those companies hitting SxSW or being acquired by Facebook. Think of a place like Bank Director, which, come to think of it, is pretty cool in its own right.
Al Dominick is the managing director and executive vice president of Bank Director. He is a 1999 graduate of Washington & Lee University where he was four-year letterman on the varsity baseball team and member of Pi Kappa Alpha and holds an MBA from the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business where he also serves on the alumni board. Al lives in Chevy Chase, D.C. with his wife and two children. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.