Taking time to reflect on your career path is important. Being able to look back on where you’ve been and the nuances of each step can seriously help you understand where you’re going, and even help you get there. When I took an internship on a whim 7 years ago, I didn’t know that I would be embarking on the most challenging, rewarding experience of my career, surrounded by some of the best people I know.
“I live my life a 1/4 mile at a time” -Dominic Toretto via GIPHY Some of you may recognize this quote from, The Fast & The Furious. Some of you may not. Quoted by car enthusiasts everywhere, the quote was actually a true statement for my career at one point. Having worked closely with a professional drag racing team for a five years, I did literally hang on every pass down the drag strip. (Which is the aforementioned 1/4 “quarter” mile.)
I never know how to answer the question “How long have you been at IMPACT?” While last month marked my first year at the company out of college, I never know how to mention that I worked at IMPACT much earlier– long before it was the inbound marketing agency and media company that it is today. As the youngest employee of the team, you may be surprised to hear that I was also one of IMPACT’s first ever employees– number 3 to be exact. IMPACT was founded in fall 2009, and during the following summer, I started at the company learning the basics of web development and graphic design. I was also just 16 and still in high school.
When you’re the leader of an organization, you have to be willing to experiment -- with new ideas, processes, etc.
We’ve all heard the phrase “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life,” but I struggled to understand this for much of my career. See, I started out working on TV shows and like most people, I loved what I did... until I didn’t.
At first, I threw out every excuse in the book: The team doesn’t have time. Not everyone is a writer. They straight up hate writing. I knew convincing my colleagues to create content would be like pulling teeth, but back in 2015, when our founder and CEO, Bob, insisted we start publishing two (and at one point three) articles a day, I had to get them on board if I was going to get it done -- and keep my head above water. Today, almost three years later, our website traffic is 10x what it was, subscriber numbers are up 130%, and I love having so many voices on our blog. But how did I do it?
To kick off 2018, I took a giant leap and accepted a fully remote position in a role I’d essentially never done before (not in any official capacity, anyway). I would soon be the Director of Audience Engagement and Community at IMPACT. As someone who had always had the word “marketing” in my title in some way, this was a big shift. As I packed up my desk at my old job, I got a little scared. Sure, it was exciting to think about working from home (I’d never have to wear pants again, right?) and to join this team of people I already loved, but what if working there was dramatically different than meeting up with the team at conferences and chatting on Facebook?
Design wasn’t my first career, but that isn’t anything out of the ordinary in the world of design and development. Yes, some of my colleagues and design friends made their way through graphic design school or a related field, but an equal number found their way through other avenues. The journey to where I am today, however, wasn’t instantaneous or clean cut.