Embracing Challenges

When I first started my career as a technical support agent, I was thrown into a path where I had no idea what my options for growth were.

I was in the sports video production industry where I had already hit a ceiling. There wasn’t much of a growth path, I didn’t see my boss leaving at any time soon, and I wasn’t learning anything new. At age 25, I wanted a challenge and was tired of working unpredictable schedules where I’d have to come to work at the drop of a hat.

I decided to shape my own destiny and leave my position to work at a start up making half of my salary. It was a scary choice, but I really had a feeling about this company.

I was in over my head. I had wanted a challenge, but this felt like climbing Mount Everest. It seemed like there was just too much to learn; platform architecture, internet infrastructures, video codecs, html… I was convinced I would fail.

I started to apply for other jobs as a back up- I was sure I was not going to make it, and that my boss would see that and fire me. As someone who was far from home with no back up and in NYC, I couldn’t afford to get fired. I spent about 2 weeks tweaking my resume and taking phone interviews in my car on the way to work.

One day, I didn’t get a production job that I was in the final round of interviews for. The funny thing was, instead of feeling upset at the rejection, I felt relieved. Why?

I knew it was because secretly, deep down, I didn’t want to leave this company. I loved the culture and more importantly, I didn’t want to give up on myself because I was out of my comfort zone. At that moment, I gave myself a pep-talk and decided to really go for it.

I read articles, took more difficult tickets, got my hands on all of our software and hardware products until I knew all the functionality inside and out, and started to really pin myself against my colleagues. I noticed the work was getting easier and that I was taking calls with ease. I also realized, with the help from my boss, that even though I didn’t know everything all the time, it was about my attitude towards approaching learning that mattered. I asked questions and pushed myself.

Before I knew it, after a trip to our India offices to help shape our team there, I was promoted to Manager — skipping over the Team Lead position. Soon after that, I was Head of Support, and not long after, I was creating a customer service team and another 24/7 support team.

I quickly learned that if I wasn’t challenged, I wasn’t living up to my full potential. Even now, as I write this, I sometimes feel over my head in my current position. The only reason why I’m not running away, other than passion for where I work and what I do, is knowing that its only going to hurt me if I don’t keep pushing myself to learn and grow. The reward is just too great to pass up.