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Pastures new

Embarking on a new career opportunity

Yesterday I concluded my 7-year career at US investment bank J.P. Morgan.

Since joining as an intern in the summer 2011, my experience with the bank has fundamentally built the platform for my future career. Looking back, I’ve grown in more ways than I realise. But this year I promised myself to find my passion and look hard for a new challenge.

My time at JPM

Working in such an enormous company has been a mixed experience.

On the one hand, the huge scope and scale of the front-office trading technology systems has given me a real appreciation for complex corporate technologies, and the intriguing dynamics of the stock market. Working in a huge cross-functional team has enabled me to build a large network and the chance to learn from some incredibly talented colleagues. As far as gaining technical and practical experience, I honestly don’t think any other industry or organisation could have pushed me further to equip me with the skills I have today.

But, especially in the past 2 years, the weight of the organisation had at times left me frustrated. I was working exhaustive hours to produce software without seeing a tangible end result, and in a workplace where my absence wouldn’t be felt in the context of a quarter million employee organisation. For years I lost focus on my long term objectives while scrambling intensely to satisfy challenging business requirements, along with coping with the day-to-day stress of managing a complex multi-billion dollar trading system.

Over time, I began to lose my sense of purpose.

Turning a passion into a job

In parallel for my search to find a more fulfilling career, I’ve started to take bigger strides with my environmental safeguarding efforts.

I’m doing all I can to change my own habits. I fly less, offset my carbon emissions, consume a plant-based diet, and have reduced (and am campaigning against) the use of disposable plastics. Yet, I had grown increasingly exasperated that I’m unable to contribute an important cause during working hours.

In an attempt to correct this, earlier in the year I managed to convince senior management at J.P. Morgan to remove the provision of single use coffee cups and plastic cups across UK offices. I’m proud to say that the team have agreed and a ban will be effective from September, but I nonetheless still felt disconnected with the intangible results of my project work. Ultimately the end result of my daily efforts was to make wealthy people who can afford to invest become even more wealthy, as opposed to using my skills to address some of the major challenges of the world today.

The chance to further my environmental efforts along with my passion for technology seemed a no-brainer when the opportunity at Winnow came along.

Winnow

Winnow is a sustainable start-up that are trying to tackle the issue of food waste. They deploy intelligent technology to commercial kitchens to track wasted ingredients and offer analytical insights to chefs and managers to reduce wastage. The opportunity is huge: half of all food produced never makes it to the table – that’s an astonishing $1 trillion of waste globally every year. In a world where 800 million people go hungry every-day, and 40% of the global landmass is devoted to agriculture, there are huge social and environmental repercussions to this waste. The Winnow product has already saved over 15 million meals going to waste and 26 000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

While I can’t reveal too much about what I’ll be working on at Winnow, I’m excited to join a fast growing company with huge ambitions. I’m sure there will be challenges, many of which I will not have encountered before, but underpinning these challenges is an important mission to right one of the greatest scandals in the world today.

It was sad to say goodbye to my team at J.P Morgan who almost became family after almost 6 years. I’ve been looked after and undoubtedly enjoyed my time there, but now is the time to begin a new chapter in my life.

Onwards and upwards!

-S

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