A Thank You Note to My First Job
My first job was more than a 9-5, a paycheck and free coffee. It was the place I grounded myself, built an identity and earned reputational capital. It was the place I discovered that it wasn’t the big projects I took on every month but the little things I did every day. My first job didn’t have meaningless words like “integrity” or “trust” plastered on the walls. It was not about hours at a desk, but results for our clients, consumers and company. My first job wasn’t at Google, Amazon or Apple. My first job was at Kasasa, an innovative Financial Technology company in Austin, Texas.
Kasasa was my first job out of college. I knew it was going to be a great place, I just didn’t know it was going to change who I am, for the better. You could make the argument that ANY first job will change you for the better. I disagree, it is the RIGHT first job that can have this kind of impact on you. Kasasa was RIGHT for me because they had a mission I believed in, a culture that had a heartbeat, people that made work exciting and agile leadership.
There are many people who impacted my career at Kasasa and they know who they are. And I thought Kasasa needed a thank you note and I wanted to share it with my readers.
Thank You to Kasasa
Over 7,480 hours working with extraordinary people for a unified vision. Three positions, from an individual contributor to a manager. Dozens of team buildings and happy hours and endless fun on a daily basis. Eight 5-minute mentors that shaped who I am, why I lead and how I think. Around 1,870 cups of mediocre coffee and hundreds of hard-boiled eggs (Kasasa has great snacks). Dozens of marketing products and millions of direct marketing pieces sent out to consumers telling them there is a better checking account. All of this and more done within your walls.
Everything I learned I will carry forward and expand upon. You allowed me to explore different career paths. You provided me with an abundance of wise, experienced peers to learn from. You taught me that I should challenge the status quo and move out of my comfort zone. You gave me a place to hang my tennis shoes and bring my passion for health to my fellow Spartans. You had unlimited lifesaver mints. You have set my standards high in what a company should be and how it should treat its employees. I will never accept average, not after you.
So, thank you. Thank you for the relationships I formed. Thank you for your unwavering patience as I found my footing. Most of all thank you for instilling a confidence in me that I could take on the world.
My First Job and Fitness
Kasasa is the perfect place for people who want to pursue balance and healthy lifestyle. Healthy snacks in the breakroom, the boot-camp onsite by Of The Lion Fitness, the gym-member reimbursement and yearly fitness competitions create an atmosphere of health. We ran challenges with FitRankings and advocated why fitness and health are important to employees. I was a part of a BarCamp called What The Fit, where like-minded people came together to do Be Well, Work Well Month.
It was the opportunity to bring what I love to do most in the world to a place I love to be and grow my passion uninterrupted. I learned so much about myself as an employee, a leader and an athlete.
Three Things I Learned at My First Job
I learned a lot in my first job, but these were the top 3 that helped me in life and my career.
Find Comfort in the Uncomfortable
Just as in any sport, you make gains by moving out of your comfort zone (then recovering). I learned to be okay with the unknown, the unforeseeable and the unfathomable. Most of all, I understood that I was not in it alone.
Ask for What You Need & Want
I learned that no one was going to give me what I need or want unless I ask for it. When roadblocks arise, I learned to tell my superiors what I needed to move forward. No one was going to do that for me. Furthermore, when I had extra bandwidth I could ask for things I wanted, like cross-functional projects.
People before Progress & Progress before Perfection
I learned to put my relationship with people before the task. Driving results is great, but not if you run over people. And just like people are not perfect, neither are your projects or ideas. It is better to have movement in the right direction than perfection in the wrong outcome.
I heard the horror stories of people leaving their jobs out of boredom, poor culture or an unsteady vision. People looking for ways out of their job, any excuse to move on and get out. I never felt that feeling, because I felt like I belonged. It made it that much harder to make the leap when I was approached by my dream job. I was taught to follow my passion. And my passion was knocking on the door. Three and half years at a place I loved to be. It is always exciting to connect the dots looking back, knowing I am moving forward.