Creating My Own Rotational
It has been exactly a year and 3 months since I graduated from college with a degree in Economics. This past year has been the most eye opening period I would say I have had since my freshman year of college. Throughout this year I have been working on scaling out LykeMe which is the place one can go to discover those who share a similar identity and interests as they do, while also working full time. In the following paragraphs I will go over how I took an unorthodox approach to career in this past year and how having stints in Real Estate, Advertising, Public Health and Corporate Finance got me to where I am today.
Job 1: My first job out of school was working as an Accounts Payable Analyst at Marketplace Homes in Livonia, MI for the smart and charismatic Mike Kalis. In my senior year I was so focused on launching LykeMe that I neglected to look for jobs, and Mike being kind offered me a job after meeting him at a business pitch competition the previous fall. As an Accounts Payable Analyst at Marketplace Homes I was in charge of paying our vendors and paying the utilities of the homes we had our property management arm of the business. I came to MPH not only because I needed a job but also it gave me a chance to work with C-Suite executives day in and day out and I wanted to see what I could learn from the team. I was at MPH for about a month and a half when I realized although I was learning a lot from the C-Suite team I did not have a passion for the real estate industry so I decided to look for other employment. (Talk about a short stay).
Takeaway from Job 1: Have a passion for the industry you are working in, it will be needed when you have those long days at work.
Job 2: My next job was as a Social Listening Analyst at Team Detroit (Now GTB), the firm that does all of Fords branding and advertising. My job there was to look at social data from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Forums to see how we could go about leveraging social data to help with business decisions. The job was really interesting because it gave me an inside look into how big brands are looking to create a link between social sentiment and business decisions. The reason I came there was that since LykeMe was going to monetize by advertising relevant content to our users I figured I should learn how brands view social advertising on an enterprise level. Although the job at Team Detroit was interesting I was not totally in love with looking such a narrow vertical day in and day out, which was the F-150 and their competitor nameplates and The Escape and their competitor nameplates. So after about 5 months I started to get an itch for wanting to work in the public health sector (I was thinking about pursuing a Masters In Public Health) so I left.
Takeaway from Job 2: No matter how much an industry may be interesting to you, if you are not into the kind of data you will be looking at day in and day out you will get bored of it at some point. Especially for my folks dealing with data be aware of the kind of data you like to look at.
Job 3: I joined Meridian Health Plan in January as a Corporate Analyst. Meridian Health Plan is the biggest provider of Medicaid Health Insurance in the state of Michigan. I came to Meridian to gain some professional experience in the health space before trying to pursue a Masters degree in the field so I would really know if this path was for me. After about 4 months working as an analyst there I figured out that the health space as a profession was not for me and started to think of what else I could do in the meantime. What I decided to do was to follow the paths of many of the startup founders that I had seen previous. They worked at a big tech company got the social capital and connections that came from that and continued to forge their path in entrepreneurship. After being rejected from a slew of jobs I landed one with an oldie but goodie.
Takeaway from Job 3: Before devoting all of your time and energy to a sector because it sounds interesting, actually get a job in the field and see if its for you. This is mainly for all of my people who want to or are currently pursuing graduate degrees in fields because they “sound cool”.
Job 4: I took a job at IBM as a Financial Analyst working in the corporate finance sector over in Rochester, Minnesota. Did I want to be in finance? No. But the big name is what drew me in like a lot of fresh grads that look at places to work, we seem to care about name recognition more than anything else. Thinking it will either open doors or possibly satisfy our ego or both. While I was at IBM I was “on the bench” which meant once an assignment comes up then I will be moved into a role, this was my situation for the past 2 months. This time gave me a lot of time to think about what I REALLY wanted to do and not what sounded good. I came to the decision that all i really want to do is work on digital products that improve peoples lives in some facet. So after interviewing with a ton of companies for non product positions and product positions I came across an opportunity that fit my current goals.
Takeaway from Job 4: When considering taking a job offer, do not only think about the name of the company or the salary. Think of the area you will be living in as well. My biggest takeaway from IBM is not only what I did not want out of a role or culture of an employer, but also what I needed when it came to a city and the social setting of an area as well. I will say to always look holistically an opportunity when assessing if it is the right fit for you.
Job 5: Now I take my talents to a place that I feel is the best blend of everything I am looking for, a wonderful culture, a driven team and an area that I love. In about 2 weeks I will be joining U.S News And World Report in Washington D.C on one of their product teams and I could not be more excited!
In conclusion, all of the moving and leaving has got me to a place that I wanted to be and has really helped me fine tune my career path! For all of those looking for what their passion is, my only advice is that if you dont try you will never know! So start trying some things. Because, once you know what you dont want it makes it a lot easier to see what you do want. Doing all of this while also running my own startup with my two Co-Founders has definitely came with its challenges but all of the ups and downs and future ups and downs will be worth it!