Employee Voices Series: Liz Pattermann
Liz is Moneythink’s Engineering Manager. This is her journey.
When I was a teenager, I learned that equitable access to education is one of the hallmarks of living in a just world.
In the years since then, I’ve realized that I really do want to live in a just world; and, as some of the veils of my naivety have fallen away, I’ve decided I’ll settle for as close to a just world as we can intentionally create. So while I’m not sure that we’ll ever achieve world peace, or climate stability, or completely equitable access to education, I do believe that these are goals worth actionably moving toward. Luckily, right now I have the immense privilege of working at Moneythink in the space of creating more equitable access to postsecondary education for young Americans as they come of age.
A decade ago, as the threshold of my own high school graduation was approaching, I didn’t know a thing about how you decide what to do with the rest of your life.
Although I don’t believe there is a single, ultimate way to approach this question, I had the fortune of having my values, aptitudes, and interests analyzed by professionals who guided me into a major of Computer Science, which wound up fitting me very well. These experts told me that a C.S. career might not be able to fulfill all the values I held, however; and so I may need to seek out volunteer opportunities to satisfy those cravings.
Before Moneythink, that was true: I’d had to go out of my way to find places and spaces to volunteer, and to try and create a workplace culture where the setting aside of concerns for self-interest was a normal, if irregular, act.
Nowadays, at Moneythink, even though a lot of my daily Engineering tasks may sound quite far removed from the work of creating a more just world, I am able to get that internal yearning to “help others” fed continuously.
I’m still able to exercise my aptitudes and explore my interests; and, with this wonderful team, these desiderata happen within the context of our shared, common values.
The work that we at Moneythink do is in service of our mission: the projects we pour resources into are for our students, and so we find no value in clinging to any ego-laden detritus which our students find no value in. We believe in high standards, all-encompassing diversity, positivity, creativity, and an evidence-based approach to transformation.
Our work, along with our approach to it, is premised on the notion that transformation is possible: that we can engage in acts that alter the composition and the norms of our shared, common world; that together, we can create the more just world we want to live in.
These days, I am still quite young, and perhaps that is why I am hopeful yet. I see us all as brimming with irrepressible human potential. I see all the ways in which we can pour our time, energy, and attention into “better”, rather than merely allowing our life force to trickle towards a self-interested “more”. I see how, through a shared, common devotion to the greater good of this next generation, we can swell the rising tide to lift more ships. And so for now, I am glad to be working with the people that I am, in the way that I am, in the space that I am, working to create a world more just than it was the day before.