I have always been curious about exploring, especially as I have become an adult, exploring what I want to do in my career. In high school, I wanted to be a forensic scientist, so I put Petri dishes in my closet and housed various types of bacteria for months. Then I wanted to be in the military. Then I decided that I wanted to become a teacher. I received my bachelor’s in Special Education and I started my professional career as a public school teacher. After 2 years of teaching, I wanted to discover how to have more autonomy in my career, since as a teacher, I was at the mercy of the government and local administration. This brings me to today where I am now working as a recruiter for a tech start-up.
It is such a drastic career move, and you may be wondering why I would have made this jump because I would have asked the same question this time just last year. I have sorted my “why” into three different categories: growing and improving my skills, exploring new avenues and networking,
Growing my skills is the top reason why I work at a start-up. I walked into this job only hoping to increase my technical skills. At first, it was a way for me to break my way into the tech world – a place where I envisioned I was only going to spend a short time – but I quickly learned that I could grow any skill I set my mind to. The CEO of NomiSo, Phani Kolaraja, is the most encouraging boss I have ever had. From day one, he has pushed me to do anything I set my mind to. The autonomy that I receive daily to expand my knowledge has changed my hope of growing my technical skills to now growing my people skills, organizational skills, and administration skills.
I wanted to grow my skills because I do not want to always be stagnant in my life. Working in a tech start-up consistently presents new opportunities that I never even knew were possibilities for my future. As a public school teacher, I could grow my skills, but the possibilities were not endless. While I could grow my organizational skills and people skills, I could not push myself towards promotions, or numerous title changes in the timeframe that I wanted for myself. Working at the tech start-up NomiSo, I’ve been able to discover how the skills that I develop can guide me towards the person I want to be. These skills will help me free up my time, energy, and resources to eventually let me help more people in the future. The skills will benefit not just me but others.
Growing my skills has encouraged me to explore new avenues for my career. While my title is recruiter, I have been allowed to express my interest in going to school to become a software developer. I have also been able to create org charts in which a path was created specifically for me which could lead me into an upper management position within the company, should my interests align with that path. My career opportunities have been opened up to me in ways that I had not dreamed of only one year ago.
I also know several software developers who have grown their careers exponentially in the span of 1 year. This has been made possible in various ways, one being personal and team success being communicated to C-suite level executives. This word of mouth within a start-up has made it possible for our engineers to present demos of projects to the CTO of a large corporation. Subsequently, this has allowed them to lead teams of 3 or more engineers and has also to express their opinions on the direction and growth of the company itself.
Oftentimes the word networking is used as a term of importance in business circles. As a teacher, networking meant parent-teacher conferences. Working for NomiSo, networking now usually consists of meeting with C-suite level executives to discuss long-term plans, new ideas, and topics that really move the needle. Oddly enough, there are similarities between these two settings. For example, in both cases, you’re asking, listening, and then being empathetic to what somebody has to say. Using that information, your next best step is to facilitate an environment in which solutions can be offered, and then implemented.
Another similarity is also LinkedIn. For both career choices, it can be beneficial to use a LinkedIn Profile for connecting with peers. Granted, start-ups are often more active on LinkedIn to find employees. It has been extremely important that I now interact as much as I can with NomiSo employees and other stakeholders in the space. With a percentage of our hiring funnel leads coming from the platform, LinkedIn also has the tools to help make my life easier day-to-day, as a Talent Recruiter.
Networking doesn’t always have to look the same. Being friendly to coworkers because it’s the right thing to do often results in “networking opportunities”. Taking my dog Koda for a walk could maybe yield an interaction to a future business connection. While these opportunities are not always what I am searching for, they arise due to my day-to-day focus on a certain area. Being open to these happenings is what has allowed me to navigate through different careers and companies with less friction.
So there you go. I changed career paths because I found it would yield me the most self-growth, allow me to contribute as much as possible, and because I want my comfort zone to be pushed.
I traded parent-teacher conferences for coding challenges.
I traded stagnation for upward mobility.
I traded a government job for NomiSo.
What was the biggest trade-off of all?
I traded what I thought I should be doing with my career, for what I wanted to be doing with my career.
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