No one prepares you for a career transition mid-pandemic and mid-recession. No matter which prestigious precautions you take to set yourself up for success, as soon as the updated resume is in your hands, a mask is on your face, and your feet are out the door, the next steps are on you to figure out.
Naturally, I hit the streets of LinkedIn—fast and furious, relentlessly pounding Apply and Connect and spiraling down the rabbit hole of empty informational phone calls and automated rejection emails. After virtually knocking on the doors of big corporations, I sat on the proverbial porch of an unanswered door with the sinking realization that some of those big companies I had admired for years didn’t care about my new, shiny resume.
“Stop thinking about WHERE and WHAT and start paying attention to WHO: the people you’ll be working with. A big name on your resume isn’t worth a dime if you don’t like the people you work with,” a LinkedIn stranger said to me on one of my countless networking calls.
The saddest part about a major career move is bidding farewell to your friends as they traipse the globe on their own career quest. It dawned on me that although you can pick your friends, you can’t pick your co-workers that you’ll be spending forty hours a week with.
Or can you?
In my coming interviews, I decided to pay attention to the people on the other end of the Zoom call. While they were asking questions, I was vetting if I wanted to spend my nine-to-five with them. When I hopped on my first call with UNCOMN, a company that was–admittedly–outside my realm of interest, I was taken back by their charisma, candor, and engagement. I really like these people, I scribbled down on my notepad.
My second interview was with a Vice President. I was a bit nervous. I hadn’t expected someone so senior to want to meet with me so soon. We hit it off immediately and had a dynamic, lively discussion about the seismic shifts happening within the company and a brainstorming session about how to help UNCOMN scale to its potential. I left that “interview” already feeling like part of the team.
I was beaming after that call and told my friends and family that I had a great time talking with the VP. Was that LinkedIn stranger right?
My dreams of working in the glitz and glamor of entertainment, fashion, and advertising were met with a different reality: cybersecurity, cloud migration, and federal government contracts. Although it didn’t seem sparkly on the surface, UNCOMN offered a different kind of glitz and glamor: responsibility, a seat at the table, and skin in the game. I couldn’t resist.
I had briefly worked at a large company before that boasted its strong company culture, but it went in one ear and out the other. I didn’t understand what a company culture was until the last few weeks. It’s hard to describe without sounding like writing this is part of my job, but strong company culture is a series of feelings: that feeling you get when you mess up and aren’t embarrassed; the feeling you get when you’re comfortable asking questions and taking a risk; the feeling you get when strangers say hello in the hallways instead of averting their gaze as they breeze by you; the feeling you get when someone trusts you with a challenging project; the feeling you get when someone hands you a hand-written welcome card; the feeling you get when colleagues let you in on a joke as a newcomer and you get to laugh with them.
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Visit uncomn.com/careers to learn more about our company culture.