A Former Athlete on How to Find a Career You’ll Love

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I spent a lot of time with my track team in college: we ate together, traveled together, and practiced for 25 hours each week together. We worked hard and supported each other, day in and day out.

When I graduated from college, I knew I wanted to join a company that would have a similar team environment. At Ecosystems, I found a place where I can work hard, support others, and accomplish goals with a team. For anyone searching for a job, how can you find a place where you’ll love to work? Here are four suggestions:

1. Consider how the company encourages your development  

My track coaches became my biggest mentors, both on the track and off of it. They cared about my personal development as well as my success as a runner. I was a person, not just a number. As a result of my coaches’ care, I grew as an athlete and a person.

I wanted to find the same level of support from leadership at work. The leadership at Ecosystems encourages team unity, recognizes and rewards hard work, and cares about my personal and professional development. Here are three examples:

  • Professional developmentWe each have what we call an Individual Development Plan (IDP) to set goals for our professional development. My coworkers, Nick and Megan, have written about their IDP experience here and here.
  • Time with leadershipEvery three months, the President and Founder goes on a short walk with each team member. In my walk with him, he asked about how he can help me succeed and the challenges I’m facing. It struck me as generous that he would make time for me, and that he genuinely wants to get to know me and answer my questions.
  • Frequent feedback — I love getting quick, in-the-moment feedback. Here’s a screenshot of an email from Chad after he had passed by my desk one day:

 

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2. Understand the type of environment you’ll thrive in

I love goal-oriented environments. I like knowing what I need to accomplish and doing the hard work to get there. In track, we had goals each season that our coach printed and hung on our lockers. We could all see each other’s goals, which created a sense of competition among each one of us.

The transition to working at Ecosystems felt natural, partially because of its goal-oriented environment. We have weekly meetings to share our important goals and track our progress, which creates a team mindset. I also get to see that I’m part of something bigger than myself because we’re all working side-by-side to achieve our goals.

3. Determine whether the definition of success is clearly laid out

In track, I had meetings with my coach each season for goal planning. We had two types of goals: performance goals (for example, the exact time I wanted to get in a race) and process goals (like eating vegetables every day, or getting eight hours of sleep). Those goals were so important, because when I got to the end of the season, I could look back and determine whether or not I had performed well.

At work, each team member sets two types of goals so we know what success looks like. The goals are quantitative (which are numbers-focused, like “interact with 20 new customers each month”) and qualitative (which are focused on personal qualities, like being gritty and results-driven). We also have goals for our professional development outlined in what we call our Individual Development Plan (IDP).

4. Ask whether your passion aligns to the company’s purpose

In my interview, the Ecosystems team asked me about my passions. I explained that I’m passionate about helping people, whether it’s a friend, family member, coworker, or customer. At Ecosystems, I found an organization of people who believe that everyone has something uniquely valuable to offer—something that is worth identifying and conveying to others. We call this “value made clear.” My most fulfilling moments here have been when a customer is excited because of the service I’m able to provide in making their value clear.

What makes you feel energized and fulfilled? Does the company’s purpose align to that?

About the Author

Taylor Hennig

Taylor Hennig

Taylor is a value consultant at Ecosystems, where she specializes in identifying and conveying the unique value of products and services. Taylor's multidisciplinary background provides unique insight for developing tailored, high-impact conversations that guide business decisions. She has a passion for helping others and loves to see how her work positively affects customers. She has a bachelor's degree in economics, philosophy, and politics from the University of Pennsylvania.