By Lindy Belley of Integrity Data
Princess. Fireman. Astronaut. Teacher. Many kids have an idea of what they want to be when they grow up. I was not that child. Things I was really good at: Putting items back where they belonged, helping around the house, making friends, trusting strangers, forcing my little brother to ask for my drink refills.
Much to my mother’s dismay, she was constantly having to train my heart to be more protected. If it weren’t for her brutal honesty and Dateline episodes, I would have happily walked off with a stranger looking for their puppy. In my youth, both of my parents encouraged me to grow my social wings, try new adventures while balancing danger with safety, and make the most out of my circumstances.
Fast forward a great deal to college. I’ll be honest; not much had changed: I trusted everyone and would put off studying for a big test to be with people. Majoring in business administration seemed like a no-brainer as it would prepare me for the workforce and, in-turn, guarantee I could pay those undesirable, inevitable bills. I was right, but as I angled my way through jobs after graduation, something seemed to be missing. Then it dawned on me: I was working a job, not a career. Why should I settle for a job at a time when so much is at my reach?
I asked myself, what does a career look like?
For years, I’d been told I was creative, but I had no formal training. I knew I loved strategy, but I never worked in positions that allowed me to expand in that way. I made a great assistant by being able to see things two and three steps ahead of those around me. (That one, I’ve decided, is a curse.)
Deciding to follow in my father’s footsteps, I picked up a camera and started to shoot. Then, one day, I was handed a copy of Photoshop, and it was all over. Friends, family, and complete strangers began asking me for little pieces of graphic design: Wedding invitations, logos, banners, brochures, advertisements, the list goes on. Minutes turned into hours, and I was completely unaware. I had found it: My zone.
In 2008, Integrity Data hired me as a contract employee for, you’ve got it, data entry. My beloved affair with Microsoft Dynamics CRM began. I struggled with my internal need to organize data and desire to create pretties. Integrity Data just couldn’t get enough of me and offered a full-time position after the grueling hours of research, copy, paste, research, copy, paste finally came to an end. In what? Accounting and sales ops.
Through those initial years, I had my hands in CRM daily, but a new element had been introduced: Human interaction! Never mind my distaste for numbers; I was willing to work up quotes and invoices because I got to help you, our Partners. I thought I had reached it, the complete package. Interacting with people, learning names – it was so worth it.
As I sat quietly at my desk working through receivables, my manager called me into his office. Gulp. Was this it? Did they finally tire of my corny jokes and office supplies obsession? Had sniffing the mail, magazines, and Post-it notes irreversibly weirded them out?
They wanted me…ME…to take lead on the marketing efforts while they searched for a new director of marketing. I was speechless. (That hasn’t been a problem since, in case you were concerned.) It got better. We hired an amazing leader and a wonderful mentor. Marleen De Winter joined the team. Every day, I am aware of the rare gift I have in Marleen. Honestly, I don’t remember much from those first months, because it seems as though we have always been a team.
Marleen has ushered me into opportunities that have enhanced my strengths, gifts and desires. I get the chance daily to improve processes for our customers and Partners, create all the graphics and digital artwork my little heart can handle, organize and prepare our dapper sales team for events across the country, and on occasion, attend them myself. People are the center of my daily activities.
I’m trying really hard not to be completely cheesy or bore you with details, because the fact is simple: I have found my career. I am in the zone. I have a desire to grow. I work with people who care about the customer, care about the Partner, and care about each other. I have a manager who wants me to succeed as much as she, herself, wants to succeed.
I have: The total package.
Read more articles from the Summer 2016 issue of The Partner Channel Magazine. Want to get closer to achieving the total package in your career? Check out this year’s session of The Genius Series.