For anyone else on a similar path as I was, I’ll leave you with a quote by my original employer, Walt Disney: “Do a good job. You don’t have to worry about the money; it will take care of itself. Just do your best work — then try to trump it.”
Working as a Customer Service Consultant, the two favorite parts of my role are recruitment and development. As a whole, my role is to come into a company and analyze what can be improved, from the employees, to the trainings, company policies, the technologies used, and whatever other tools can be used.
Recruitment is one of the best parts of my role because I get to find really genuine and motivated people and offer them a position that they’re passionate about. Then once they’re on my team, I get to develop them by finding out their professional interests and find ways that they can learn and grow in that field within the company. While it’s always a bit sad, I’m most excited when that person then gets plucked away by another department once they’ve grown skilled enough in that area, and I get to start the recruitment process again!
I certainly didn’t have the most consistent path upwards. I faltered a bit. Okay, a lot.
I started my career with the Walt Disney Company, as a college intern at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Within a year, I was promoted three times, going from taking out the garbage or serving up food to managing seven different locations simultaneously with over 400 staff. All this success, and I was only 20 years old.
As the years went on, I started to diversify my skills, moving over to sales with various cruise lines and vacation ownership companies, and then on to being a technical advisor with Apple. Having all of these roles in hospitality, customer service, leadership, sales, and tech support really helped me be able to see problems from multiple angles and be able to come up with an optimal solution that others weren’t able to initially see. It felt really, really great.
And then life happened.
Due to some personal events, I went through a bit of a downward spiral in my mid-late 20s. My time getting impressive employment opportunities dried up, and I was left with jobs like selling souvenirs at a gas station gift shop on a highway rest stop. In early 2019, I was introduced to Upwork by my brother-in-law, so I created a profile and started applying for whatever opportunities I could. Without an established profile, I set my rate a bit lower than I’d typically want so that I could get a company to take me on based on my resume alone. And it worked - I started getting offers! I committed myself to doing the best work I could do, no matter the position, and as the positive reviews rolled in, I was able to set my rates higher and higher! And then in one role, it really kicked up a notch.
After a year of taking on clients for various positions, I was hired by one company that was in a particularly bad state. I was brought on to an apathetic customer service team that had no oversight and no passion for what they were doing. There were over 2,500 unresponded to emails, with the average wait time over a month. I took a deep breath and got to work. After just a couple weeks of this, the owner decided to hand me the department and told me to do whatever it took to make it work. I was finally back in the leadership chair, and I was able to tap into the knowledge and experience I’d gained with all of the big name companies I worked with, and bring it to a small business level. I recruited a new team of really wonderful, talented people, and within a month we had completely transformed the department to where the majority of positive company reviews specifically mentioned my department.
Part of what I love in developing my teams is the connection it gives me with all of them. Because I’m able to help them grow and feel a sense of community, even when we’re all working remotely, they often want to work with me again on future projects once they’ve completed what I’d originally hired them for. I’ve worked with some people three and four times now, and am still working with a couple people I’d hired onto that first team years ago.
Looking back, while part of me wishes I could’ve avoided that downfall in my 20s, part of me is so grateful for knowing the bad so that I can more appreciate the good.
I just wish I could tell that past me how good it would get as long as he keeps trying!
For anyone else on a similar path as I was, I’ll leave you with a quote by my original employer, Walt Disney: “Do a good job. You don’t have to worry about the money; it will take care of itself. Just do your best work — then try to trump it.” These words couldn’t be more true to my experience. If you give the very best quality you can, the good reviews will come, with a higher rate to follow.
I thank Upwork so much for the opportunity it’s given me to turn my life around and turn it into the dream life I never thought I could have, all while doing work I love, and people I love to do it with.
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