I love Instagram. Through it I’m able to find new places to visit, see clothing trends, what’s good to eat, cute puppies, and countless other things. I love living in an era of hashtags, where we get to express our sentiments in a shorter amount of space than a tweet. My favorite hashtag? #bestjobever, with almost 365,000 posts.
I do genuinely believe this applies to me. Over the course of my career I’ve had the opportunity to go out into the world and meet thousands of people of all backgrounds, ethnicities and orientations. I’ve heard about people’s ambitions and what keeps them up at night with excitement. Their drive has served as a source of inspiration to push my own limits and potential.
What nomadic endeavor brought me along this path? It came about unexpectedly, but then again, the best paths are the ones less traveled…
At Boston University I started off doing what I thought was the sensible path: being pre-med. Once I (quickly) realized that I was 1) terrible at chem and bio and 2) didn’t actually want to become a doctor I had to figure out what else I was going to do with my life. Having loved psychology classes in high school I opted for that major, thinking I would end up with a PhD in Clinical Psychology. During my senior year, while interviewing for doctoral programs, I had an epiphany that it was not my personal preference to spend 5+ more years in school.
I happened to organize a career fair for psyc majors at BU, during which I met an alum who was enrolled in a Masters program at UPenn. She sold me on it in under 5 minutes: It was for Psychology majors but rooted in Education, and only a year round program (though intensive). It was the perfect match. I put my heart and soul into that application and was thrilled to get in. I may not be able to remember all of the fundamentals that we learned in class, but it did introduce me to an amazing network of people, some of whom are my best friends today (like Angela)! In addition, it has taught me how to think critically and deconstruct a problem. And, most importantly, to have empathy for others and embrace all backgrounds.
Working in Higher Education
I don’t think I quite realized then how much I loved not only learning, but physical universities themselves. There is a constant buzz, energy, and atmosphere of knowledge that is addicting. After getting my masters in Education I did a year of psyc research at Harvard, then ended up at MIT in Engineering Career Services. I wanted the 1:1 interaction of working with students, and liked the short term benefit of knowing where they landed after graduating. I did everything from resume reviews, mock interviews and career fair prep to leading workshops on networking, negotiating offers, etc. My second higher ed role was at Harvard Business School, where I served as a Career Coach for MBA students.
Transition to Industry
While I did thoroughly enjoy career counseling, I would see these sharp looking recruiters come in for career fairs, work at warp speed, then be on their way after collecting hundreds of resumes. I yearned to do something more dynamic and fast-paced, and thus moved to the other side of the desk so-to-speak: I became part of University Recruiting teams. That meant going out to multiple campuses (instead of working for just 1), talking to students about intern and new grad roles during events, and ultimately getting them through the door. I began this phase of my career at VMware, then The Walt Disney Company, and am currently at Square, where I now lead the team.