a podcast by Pawlean

The roles that made me who I am today

December 31, 2020 Pauline Narvas Season 1 Episode 9
a podcast by Pawlean
The roles that made me who I am today
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Happy holidays, or whatever you call this time of year in 2020. In today’s episode, I share the jobs that made me who I am today. I made some bold moves in 2020, I wanted to take a step back, look back at my journey and what I learnt along the way. Every single job I’ve ever had has definitely contributed to my career today ☺️

I’m sorry about the audio quality change, I messed up my mic set-up in the middle. 😂

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Hello, welcome to a podcast by Pauline. I'm your host, Pauline Narvas. And today, I'm super excited to say Happy Holidays, or Happy New Year. I don't know, when I'm going to post this. So we'll see. We'll see when, when the time comes, but I hope that you've had a good last few weeks, you know, celebrating the end of the year, celebrating the year that has been, and you know, it has been quite a tough year. So I'm hoping that you've found at least like five or so minutes just to reflect on all the great things that you managed to achieve. In the last year, I've been sort of slacking with creating podcasts, just mostly because final month of 2020 was so exhausting for me, I had so much going on. I was studying for my AWS Solutions Architect associate exam. And I was a part of a an international conference, the first one that I spoke at, and also I left my first tech job. So loads of things going on finally had the chance to relax and do nothing. And you know, creating content and speaking to myself on a podcast is something that I just didn't really feel like doing it. Other than that, I'm starting to feel more refreshed and just ready for whatever 2021 has in store for me and for for all of us. I think the biggest thing I really want us to talk about today is sort of the elephant in the room that I feel like, you know, after I've spoken to a lot of friends and family about, you know how my years been, the thing that's forefront in my mind is leaving my first tech job.

So for a bit of context, I had always like sort of thought that I would leave soonish because I am one of those people who have always wanted to step out of my comfort zone to see what else is out there. For today's episode, I wanted to talk about the jobs that made me who I am today. I am a very reflective person, as most of you already know, before I jump into the next challenge. And the next thing I wanted to like take a step back and look at all of the different roles that I've played over the last few years and how they sort of led me to where I am. I think even though a lot of them aren't strictly tech related, or in the tech field, it's something that I feel like, is still really important to talk about. Because all the skills and the knowledge that I've learned along those jobs, even though they're not as obvious, they have definitely helped me become who I am today. My first ever job was as a barista at a local coffee shop here in Sheffield. And I absolutely loved the job when I first started until I, you know, slowly realized that making coffee for other people is not not my skill. And you know, when I think back, I like to like sort of like, relate it back to you know, friends. And you know how, in the first few seasons, Rachel is serving coffee and she absolutely hates it, she's also buzzed that she has her first like job in the city and it's live, I was exactly like that I was just really excited to be earning money through you know, hard work through that commitment every local weekend. Like I said, I was absolutely terrible at it. And I shouted that I was just like, you know, told off because I couldn't make proper drinks. And even today, I'm just terrible. missing anything in the kitchen, although I have improved. So So yeah, but it was such a good learning experience because it was, you know, one of those defining moments for me that, you know, like, I could fully be independent, I could like work a job, I could get paid and I could use the money that I that I got from that job to buy myself anything I wanted, or like save up for like the future and stuff like that. And it was like that first taste of independence. So after I was a barista, I moved on to retail. So this was around the time I was still in my first year at university. And I wanted to have a part time job to sort of like fund for the things that I needed at university without like, you know, asking my parents for money. I just wanted to earn it myself. The first one was at a retail store that was selling like clothes then it was like a fast fashion store. And then my second one was actually at a game store. And then the third one was at a shoe store.

such a weird experience, you know, working as a sales advisor for all these different stores because they all have their own unique way of working, but at the same time, they were all very similar.

And by the end of it, I just got very good, you know, selling ways I needed to sell. Um, but I think being a sales advisor, like really benefited me in terms of like getting out of my shell, because, believe it or not, when I was like, around 2014, even at school, I was quiet, like, I was a lot quieter around people, I was definitely a lot more introverted, and, you know, speaking to anyone else who wasn't like a close friend of mine, or someone that I don't really know, like, scared the shit out of me like, but then now like, That's such a huge difference from before 2020 happen, I used to go to these like meetups, I used to love talking to people, I love meeting new people. And I really got that energy from, you know, getting to know someone being a sales advisor sort of forced me to go out of my way to like, speak to customers who were browsing or who looked a bit lost. And I think that was so valuable for what I knew I wanted to like become. So I always like pictured myself when I was growing up. Being like an actress, or someone who stands up on stage and does something I used to sit, I used to think that it would be singing, but I can't sing. So that's just totally out the window. Now, I wanted to do that by always was like, I'm not a good communicator, I can't really speak I hate talking to other people. And I'm quite like anxious around other people. So I just sort of said, that's probably never gonna happen. But I can dream, right? Eventually, you know, I got really good at speaking to all sorts of different people like, so my final like retail job was at QC issues store. And it was like, it was so much fun, I used to love all of my shifts, bring in a new admin, someone new, I knew I'd have like, a nice chat with like, all sorts of people, because I used to love working the Christmas shifts, because of the influx of people that would come. I just love talking to all of them and learning about what they are getting their like partners or their daughters or sons like it was it was great. I love that. So So yeah, and I think the main thing I got from that retail experience was that communication aspect, as well as like, it really flared up the, my love for helping other people. And I think a lot of people, like I've said this in the past, but sometimes I like to give a lot of my time to other people, sometimes I get really invested in other people at, like sometimes even stressed about, like their current situation, even though it doesn't bother me at all, I just really,

really want to help. And I think I've gotten that from from being a sales advisor, you know, I had the opportunity to help others, you know, whether that is helping them pick out shoes for a special occasion, or helping them pick out an outfit for a special occasion. It was like stuff that I really enjoyed. I loved helping them and I loved seeing them, you know, satisfied at the end of that, like customer journey that, you know, they wanted to, they found that perfect outfit for a perfect occasion. And now they're gonna rock it and they love it. That was the first time I've ever truly like started helping other people. I'm not like working towards something just for my own benefit. It was always like, helping other people serving other people. And it was just really satisfying. And I, I really enjoyed that. And I think that was again, like the foundations of what I wanted to keep on doing in the future, whatever role that looks like. I think those first few years of working a part time job was really fast look at what independence look like. And I absolutely loved it moving on to my placement year. So Oh my God, I could talk about my placement year, all day.

Those, you know, for those who were my ex colleagues back then you'd know how excited I you know, I'm talking about it today and how excited I was at the time when I was working there. So as most of you know, I did a biomedical sciences degree. And I had the opportunity to take a placement year so I actually spent most of my second year looking for a placement year. And most of that those interviews that I went to for a placement year were actually at big pharma companies, because at the time I thought I wanted to go to the medicines they in like the research field and so I did a lot of like interviews for pain placement years in like the r&d, research and development areas of loads of

big pharma companies. Unfortunately, I didn't get any of them. Although I was very close with a lot of them. I absolutely like, you know, the whole, the whole experience of applying to big pharma companies and just big companies in general is so it's such an interesting experience. And I'm glad that I had the opportunity to do it. But just as I was about to give up, and you know, forget the whole going into, into a placement year, I actually found a placement year AD. And at the university, I was in the University of Sheffield, and they were looking for a communications and external engagement assistant into that's always enough.

So that's that placement? Yeah, I applied, a few of us will interviewed and they chose me. And I'm so excited because like, I didn't know anything about communications I didn't do, I didn't know what external engagement even meant. But I was like, I really want a placement here. And I'm not even sure if I want to go down this biomed route. So I was like, why not, we need to spice it up. You know, let's see, let's see how far we go. I did all sorts of things. So I was an intern helping out with the communication. So that's like social media, and engagement for students. And also, I did a bit of like, admin,

admin work. So that was just like organizing, like databases, sorting out through files and stuff like that. And again, this is like, probably my first

real like, experience working in an office as well. So that was really exciting. The role sort of developed over the year as my interests like sort of became more apparent to me. And as I became more confident in my abilities, and what I could do. So the thing that

I managed to do at the end of it was help out with some of the techie aspects of things, I worked with a technologist and learning technologist that I helped her with some of the, like, improving the way we use tech in that department. So she explored things like AR and VR student engagement, and it was so exciting, it was so cool, I've never been a part of something so cool. So I used to actually help her like, lunch around this like VR kit. And then we created like a video of how to use the VR kit. And it was just so cool, it was really cool. Because I could, you know, really dip my feet and loads of different things, I also helped out with like placement. So I actually helped secure several different students with their like, placement over the summer. And as part of that I, you know, started like branching off to learning about all the different careers and helping students find out what careers they want to do. And you know, having that like one on one conversation with them about their CV, the application process. And I think that really sparked something in me because again, not that look at the helping other people aspects, the main things I learned from that

placement here was how to network because my manager, a lot of networking events, and I learned how to sort of not feel so awkward going and networking and speaking to each other, even though it will soon learn how to like improve, like general digital communications. And I think it was that year, that same year, my blog started, you know, taking off, I had a lot more people viewing my blog, I just got better, you know, communicating on a digital format on social media, and how you know, how I can make more of my posts more engaging and stuff like that SEO, social media, you know, campaigns and stuff like that. It was really, really fun on that aspect of things that really I got from the placement year was organizing myself. So I mean, like, I've always been quite an organized person, but like working in an admin role, and organizing other people's stuff was like, it was like the thing, it was like the cake I needed to like organize my life. And the whole year, I was so organized, everything was labeled, everything was color coordinated, everything was just just onpoint. And I think that that was a fantastic experience. And I still I still take that today, like today I am my most organized self because I'm placement. And then the other thing that I got from that placement was probably like the colleagues that I that really believed in me. And I told my manager and my other colleagues, I don't really know what I want to do with my life. And that's why I saw this placement here to see what else there is out there. And, you know, they really supported me They helped me find my interests and whenever I was like interested in like, one thing like tech, for example, like my manager threw me in there and asked me to get more involved in that and it was

Because of her encouragement and her belief in me that I started to realize that, you know, my hobby of loving technology and you know, dipping my feet, that was something I actually wanted to pursue, it wasn't something I even thought of pursuing until she really encouraged me. So yeah, I'm really grateful for that those 12 months they changed. After I finished my placement year, I did like some more casual jobs around the university. So I actually thought I'd go back to retail, but there were a few roles that were available to me at university that I decided were a bit more easier to get to. So the first one I mentioned in my other podcast episode about working as in the front desk, in a enterprise section of the university. So I that was where I had the opportunity to do more admin stuff, but also speak to students who were who had like this great idea about, you know, an app, or the next new Uber, or whatever it is, it was, it was also always really interesting. I think the main thing I learned from that role was not everything is like driven by money. I know some people had these massive like, ideas that they wanted to hopefully become a, like, money making money generating thing like company, I mean, who knows who, who's not into, like entrepreneurship, without that in mind, as well. But I think what I saw more than the people I spoke to was that sense of purpose, it was always about, like helping other people. So my idea will help this group of people, because they will, it will enable them to do that. And was so inspiring here, so cool to be a part of that. And I think that was the thing that really inspired me to think about the next steps in my career. And unlike focusing more on not money, but on purpose, like, what do I actually want to do? What will get me up in the morning, that's not money that's not, you know, just getting a paycheck at the end of the month do it was really inspiring was a really good way to just like, get that into my head. And then at the same time, I also was doing a remote web developer job. So I think my initial reaction to doing this job was, wow, I can charge someone for a hobby that I've loved for years. I didn't know I could do that. Wow.

I think this really like gave me the confidence to like pursue tech because someone was paying me to help them maintain and develop their website, I realized that I could actually do it, because if someone was paying me to do it remotely right now, I'm sure. I guess I'm okay. You know, I'm actually Okay, I could actually do this as a career.

During this time, as well, I had the opportunity to be part of several different tech companies as an intern throughout the years. So it was, again, like the web dev

role, I had that chance to really build up my confidence in working in tech and seeing what it's like to work in tech and define everything that I do today, obviously, because I'm still in tech. And I guess now it brings me to sort of recently, so around 2018 when I started my graduate scheme with bt

now, I could talk about my grad scheme for ages. And I guess that's why I have a several blog posts about my time over the last few, two years.

Because there's just a lot to talk about. And there's a lot I learned a lot I took away and so I I'll try my best to keep it short and sweet here. But um, you know, if you do have any questions about grad schemes, or you know, if your university student about to graduate, looking at all your options, then shoot me over some questions. I'd love to hear them. And you know, I might make a future podcast episode about grad schemes. Who knows. So yeah, my grad scheme lasted two years long, I had four different rotations, they lasted six months each. And I was in a engineering team, which had the opportunity to look at the three different brands because I was in the consumer division. So I looked at bt plus net and E but mostly working on E.

If you look back at my blog posts, you'll know how exciting the opportunity was and how grateful I am to have been chosen to be a part of it. And you know, it's one of those things, it's just an experience that it's a once in a lifetime thing, that sense of community, that sense of you know, we're all in this together. We're all on the same boat. We're all gonna learn together.

Seeing your fellow graduates grow with you over the next few years. It's just, it's something that you just can't like replicate. I don't know, it's it's something but I'm just really happy I was a part of.

So it was my first step into tech, it was my first time where I really, you know, took the whole tech thing seriously. I was like, Yeah, okay, I've had the experience from being a remote developer from all the internships I've been a part of, and all the development and coding I've been doing over the last few years, I really want to see an action, I want to see how a big enterprise works with the latest technologies and work with the tech I've been learning over the last few years. And it was a really good taste of that, because I was part of four different teams. So I was in digital architecture, in a development team, focused in the self serve platform in E. And also

platform services, which was more like DevOps and infrastructure. And then finally, my SRP rotation, and, you know, Site Reliability Engineering. And all of those gave me a different flavor and a give a different, like, insights on how these different areas work. And, you know, now I've left the grand scheme, I have taken a step back, and I've realized that I didn't know as much like because, you know, when I first joined the grand scheme, I was like, Okay, I know these coding languages. I'm sure I can contribute somewhere. Oh, great, awesome. But you know, it's actually a lot more than coding, it's a lot more than learning, the latest technologies. It's just, you know, how businesses work, how, like, all of these different teams come together to you know, developing a feature, not even you know, what, let's even take a step back, you know, where do the ideas come from? How do we get these ideas from users from customers? And then how that idea then moves on to that development phase to create these new features? And then, after a building that feature, how does that then go into the real website? And how, how do we like monitor the performance of that new feature? I'm, you know, how has it affected customers? And what what do we what do we do in certain circumstances, if like, the website goes down and stuff like that, it's just, it's just so much that I learned stuff that I thought that I had a good idea about. But I really didn't. And the grand scheme gave me that gave me that knowledge gave me that founding.

Yeah, insights on how these tech companies work. And I'm so grateful for it. The first few months, I was learning a lot about bt, learning a lot about how businesses work in general. And also learning about like, ways of working as a graduate, I was also had the opportunity to look at all the different courses or the different, like personal development opportunities that exists for graduates at bat. So, for example, I had a opportunity to spend a week, somewhere in the, in the UK to do some leadership training. And you know, a lot of people sort of roll their eyes at training and stuff like that, because they're like, Oh, you just sit in front of a computer, you watch a course. And sometimes they make you do things, but it wasn't like that for this, this course. And, you know, I had the opportunity to go out, do some hands on and learn more about myself,

that has, you know, that learning more about myself has, you know, paid off in the long run, because now I'm super aware of how I work with other people, how my sort of like learning style, how I, you know, how I lead and stuff like that, and it just so invaluable that I just feel like, you know, I want to tell everyone to sign up for graduate schemes, I wanted to, you know, tell all the businesses that, you know, if you invest in graduates, you get a lot out of them, and you get a lot in return in the long run. And I'm really glad that, you know, bt have set up that example for other companies as well. So, so yeah, there was just a lot to talk about.

And then, in my final six months of my graduate scheme, I joined a new team. Sorry, and didn't even know what SRP was. It's still something that I'm just like, hmm, loads of different people do it in different ways. I'm just sticking with the my understanding of how bt do sorry. And it was really just interesting to, you know, be part of that founding team. So from the get go, when I joined the team because I was already building up my confidence on like, how I work and how I you know, I've started to understand best practices across the business but also externally as well.

So I was really determined to be part of this founding team to help them, make the best decisions, help them make the best practices. And sort of like drive it in a way as well. And, you know, I'm just really thankful my manager had that, that faith in me and gave me that opportunity to really drive. Drive the team. Through I rolled off the grand scheme, which was in August, I had two different offers from two different teams that I've been part of. So one was SRP, and one was in the, one of the development squads, and I chose SRV. But again, I was like, honored to even have had a second offer. It was like, fantastic. But, um, but yeah, so my mountain and then I became an SRV learned so much, like I said, At the start of the podcast, I even was part of a international conference, which was focused on SRP. And as coming from like a newbie me and also the team being relatively new, it was such an honor to be a part of, gosh, you know what, like, working my final few months as an SI ri was like, eye opening, I learned so much. There was just, I can't I can't even put it into words right now. There's just so much I loved it was the it really drove me to become more focused on what I wanted in the future and future roles, for example, that gave me the chance to understand and refine what I wanted from a career in technology. And so my next challenge is actually a DevOps engineer role with a bit of everything I've learned, I guess, over the past year, it's crazy to think actually, I first did a more DevOps II roll around, I think it was like, No, September 2019, which was my third rotation, I had no clue what this was all about. Because I had always been a front end developer, I had been welcomed and introduced into this world of DevOps is so exciting for me. And I didn't actually think I would like fall in love with it the way I have. But

you know, one of the things that I've always struggled with over the past few years is having a lot of skills that just, you know, span across loads of different areas. And I know, I can't learn everything, and I can't be great at everything. And I mean, that's something I'm still trying to tell myself when I wake up in the morning, because they like, often try to be great at everything. But But yeah, when when I joined, I realized that, you know, DevOps is something I really sort of want to get super good. Ah, that doesn't mean I'm gonna forget about all of my like, more software engineering, like mindset, I feel like I have a bit of both now, which is always good. But they I sort of want to like focus in this area and see what happens. Last two years on as a bt grad defined me, helps me sort of get a head start of where I want to be in the future. So if you got it this far, thank you, for listening to me just going down memory lane going down all the roles that are jobs that really defined me. And I think I hope it really shows you but you know, your journey into tech or into any career you want to go into. It doesn't have to be a straight line, you can go around and circle try out loads of different things, especially in today's world. Just because you choose one thing right now doesn't mean that's what you're gonna end up in doing for the next like 2050 years. You can pretty much like pick and choose see what happens now. Be flexible with it. I mean, our whole society right now is flexible. Everyone is slowly becoming and going into that flexible mindset on on work and careers. So make the most out of it and just see what works for you. Right now for me, I think tech is my calling. But we'll see. We'll see what happens. And that's it for today's episode. Thank you so much for listening. Let me know what your thoughts are like, tell me about your career journey, because it varied what I've do like experimented in and what have you learned from each of those

jobs and those roles. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

If you enjoyed this episode, or want to chat some more about it. You know where to find me. You can find me on social media, on Twitter at Paulina, Instagram of poor Leanne and on my blog, Pauline calm. Let's chat. Let's keep the conversation going. Thanks again and I'll speak to you in the next

Leaving my first tech job
Being a Barista
Being a sales associate in Retail
Taking a placement year - my first professional role
Enterprise Intern / Receptionist
Scoring my first tech role as a remote web developer
Interning at different tech companies
Digital Engineering Graduate Scheme at BT
Becoming an SRE at BT
Career reflections and final learnings