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Is it time to change up your career?

What do you do when you realize that the career you’ve chosen no longer excites you? When a majority of your day is spent working, wouldn’t it be ideal to spend that time doing something you enjoy and find meaningful? Deciding to make a change can be intimidating in itself. Taking the leap and going for it is even scarier.

Three of our employees here at Textio took the leap and have provided insight on how they were able to find the confidence and drive to change. With unwavering support and guidance from those around them combined with their own internal motivation, they changed course and pursued a new career that they find challenging and fulfilling.

Photo of Olivia Gunton of Textio in the outdoors

Olivia Gunton:

Biggest lesson learned: Over the course of your career, if you’re lucky, you will meet people who recognize your potential long before you do.

Before I was a data scientist, I was a psychology researcher, a textbook and magazine editor, a teacher of Eastern European folk songs in a Hindi-medium classroom (long story), a corporate training coordinator, and a people analytics specialist. Like Kieran, I spent years wanting to be a professor, until suddenly I didn’t. Like Kamilah, I got into programming to automate tedious work and stayed because building things with code felt better than the best crossword puzzle (i.e., really good, if you’re me). And like most career changers, I would not have gotten all the way to where I am now without some gentle nudges from people much wiser than me:

  • The executive I was temping for between stints abroad, who realized I was a mediocre assistant but good with data and put me on a project setting up data infrastructure for her team
  • My mentor on that project who encouraged me to learn Python and SQL and planted the idea in my head that I might actually be good at this stuff
  • The bright, curious, down-to-earth software engineers of all genders and backgrounds that I worked with during my two years in Hyderabad, India, who showed me a wide range of examples of how an engineer could be
  • My family, who cheered me on when I went back to school for CS and struggled through learning how to write proofs
  • My now-colleagues at Textio, who saw my unconventional background as an asset and whose interview process actually reflected the work that I would be doing

I love the meaningful, challenging work that I do, and I’m incredibly grateful for all the people in my life who helped me see this path as a possibility.

Photo of Margie Henry of Textio in front of a brick wall

Margie Henry:

Biggest lesson learned: What you are meant to do may not always stare you in the face, but when you do the work and know what you want, you’ll end up finding your way there.

For a majority of my life, I saw myself as an artist. I grew up in a family of artists and most of my friends are creative types. Thinking about my passion for painting and sculpting, I assumed I was meant to have a life-long career working for arts and culture organizations in the nonprofit sector. However, as I took on role after role, I began to realize that my real strengths were in conducting research and telling stories with data.

On somewhat of a whim, I applied for a marketing data analyst role. All of those years writing and reporting on grants, managing programs, and keeping websites updated had provided me with solid experience that I could use in this role. The idea of using data to craft insights that could help companies work smarter really resonated with me. Although the “analyst” title sounded a bit mundane to the creative in me, I relished the idea of indulging in my more technical talents. I was ready for the challenge; to step out of my comfort zone.

Two years later and I am a data analyst desperate to end my days as an “Excel jockey”. I had picked up a few front-end development languages with relative ease, along with enough VBA and SQL to get things done. It was time for a new challenge, so I started playing around with Python. I took a few MOOCs, attended as many Python meetups as possible, and sought out opportunities to use this language on the job.

Now, as a customer success engineer with Textio, I’m able to use Python while also continuing to tell stories with data. I am encouraged to nurture both my creative and technical abilities. Without the motivation to learn new technologies, I wouldn’t be at Textio, working with a team that supports my growth and continues to challenge me daily.

Photo of Jonathan Meas of Textio behind a camera setting up a photo shoot

Jonathan Meas:

Biggest lesson learned: Even when you are ready to give up, listen to the people who refuse to allow it.

Fresh out of college, degree in hand, zero direction. This combination led me to take the first opportunity I could in order to gain real world experience. Fast forward 12 years later and I found myself processing parts like a robot for a manufacturing company — not where I imagined I would be. There were moments leading up to my resignation that caused me to reevaluate my purpose. I realized that I needed to make a real impact within a team and I wanted to be needed by that team in return. I needed to wake up inspired and fulfilled. But did that opportunity exist?

My personal love for hardware form factor and my appreciation of the UX functionality of software indicated that I should explore the tech industry. Without related experience, tech companies wouldn’t offer me the opportunity to make a career shift and it felt like doors were going to remain closed. After actively searching for over a year and applying for a myriad of positions, I became very familiar with local companies and opportunities that just weren’t panning out. I was ready to throw in the towel and take another manufacturing position but my wife urged me to give it another week — and thankfully, I did.

The very next day, I happened to come across a job posting from Textio, a company I hadn’t heard of before. A quick scan was all it took and I instantly felt connected; there was a level of transparency that I had yet to see in the job market. As a job applicant, Textio’s product really resonated with me and after learning about the company’s vision and purpose, I knew I had found the position and the environment that I was hoping to find.

I’m thankful that the team at Textio looked beyond my manufacturing background and allowed me to make the career change I so desperately wanted and also fortunate to have a supportive wife who wouldn’t let me quit. Today, I can honestly say that I wake up inspired and fulfilled every single day.

Our team at Textio is made up of different individuals from many walks of life. As our team grows, we strive to find people who face challenges head on, who will encourage others to do the same and be that foundation when people take risks. Whether it’s through collaboration or refusing to allow someone to give up, being someone’s rock can help catapult them to a greater level of success. Be that rock.

By the way, we’re hiring at Textio

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