How do you pick’em?

The reason you pick a job has an impact on the taste.

Why did you pick your job?

Many pick a profession because it’s something they got early experience in as young professionals. Hopefully most of us pick a company we can contribute to the success of; or a role that plays to our strengths.

But let’s be honest. If you really get someone talking over a glass of wine, there are other reasons we pick jobs.

There’s the hard specs: money, power, title.

And then there are the softer things: culture, location, hours.

All salient ingredients. And there’s no right answer for everyone.

But when I think about my past, the main reason to sign an offer letter has boiled down to one of two things: 1) brand or 2) people.

Here’s why I’ve joined, stayed and left my roles (starting post business school).

Bosch home appliances

Why I joined: A brand I felt proud of. I felt so lucky to represent an international brand and get to market products for kitchens. To me, the best moments happen around a table. Building those moments for people across North America felt fun and meaningful.

Why I stayed: Ownership. I got to touch such a broad range of channels as a brand manager. One day I was talking about our CMS or digital campaigns. The next day I was working with our showroom leader on designs for actual kitchen displays.

Also, mentorship. About a year into my time there, I got a new boss. I was terrified of the change at first but it was a pivotal moment in my career. Zach Elkin took me under his wing and taught me so much about the industry, about sales and working with people.

Why I left: As the North American outpost of BSH in Germany, we were a small horizontal team and growth options were limited. I loved my job but I was also a little afraid of getting stuck in the industry. The other major appliance companies were based in places like New York, Michigan, North Carolina. Although I would later move to the east coast, I didn’t see myself moving out of CA back then.

UrbanSitter
Why I joined: A business idea I needed personally. I was a new mom with an 8 month old struggling to figure out childcare and maintain my sense of independence as a working professional. I thought “Uber for babysitters” was a company that needed to succeed in the world.

Why I stayed: This was my first start-up experience. The first few months were terrifying. I had tiny budgets, no brand anyone had ever heard of and everyday those Looker reports came in telling me whether my market had a good day or not. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, but also a huge time of personal growth. I’ve never been as close to seeing results of partnerships and customer outreach in real time as I was in that role. It was also enormously satisfying and I was good at it.

Why I left: The flip side of being so close to my numbers was that I didn’t know how to disconnect at all. I was the first GM the company had so no one could coach me through. Every weekend, I was at kid events mentoring my field team and hustling for sign-ups. I began to feel like the cobbler whose children had no shoes. I spent all my time with kid-focused partners but very little time with my kid. I was also working from home for the first time and had zero work life boundaries. After a year, I was burnt out to a crisp.

Inspire

Why I joined: A visionary founder. I really joined Inspire for the founder. I had never met anyone who was so certain that he could actually change the world. I thought to myself, “This guy is either capable of moving mountains or completely full of shit but I have to find out which one.”

Inspire was a baby company when I joined. The website had a few pages and the office was a closet in a co-working space. So I started through the interview process with caution. But when I met Patrick I found myself really wanting that job.

Why I stayed: I had the opportunity to build a mission driven brand from the ground up and help it grow bigger than any of us ever expected (well except probably Patrick.) I put a piece of myself into that company that will always be there. It was a chance few marketers get.

But it’s worth also noting that as the company grew, my reason for staying couldn’t be just Patrick anymore. I went from being employee #8 to being a leader at a 150 person company. I was incredibly lucky to find mentorship from Liz Ludwig, our CRO. Liz is the first leader I ever worked for who I thought, “I want to be Liz when I grow up.”

Why I left: In a company growing as fast as Inspire did in the years I was there, waves of change happen every 6 months. During the wave before I left, we decided to expand into hardware and change the direction of the product. Liz left. Finally, Patrick decided he wanted the marketing team 100% in office. I had been commuting once a month from Washington DC for my last year there. It was time to close this chapter.

Custom Ink

Why I joined: A boss I could learn from. I joined Custom Ink because Chris Berejik was an incredibly smart performance leader and I had a ton to learn from him. I was willing to do any role to get the chance to be on his team.

Why I stayed: I learned a lot about omni-channel marketing, team communication and leadership at Custom Ink. This was a company that had a framework for everything. People thought deeply about decision making. It didn’t move particularly fast, but it was an extremely intentional culture that I respected.

Why I left: The come-to-Jesus moment was at the start of pandemic. It should be no surprise to anyone that demand for custom apparel for groups dropped off a cliff.

But what made it easier to leave was, ironically, the reason I joined too. Chris had been incredibly busy working with the senior leadership team on an equity deal during my time working for him. He still taught me a lot but didn’t have a lot of time. So when the business stalled and was incredibly uncertain, I moved on.

Waybetter

Why I joined: The opportunity to build something totally new. Waybetter was an opportunity to launch and build an entirely new product. It felt like such a creative and fun challenge.

Why I stayed: I learned so much at Waybetter about scaling an influencer-led health & fitness marketplace. I had done influencer marketing before but here influencer was at the crux of the business model. Plus, I had one of the most talented teams I’ve had in my career.

Why I left: After a year of scaling the marketplace through influencers, we failed to be able to forecast growth predictably. We had hits, but as we scaled, a smaller proportion of the influencers we onboarded had successes and we could never predict what would be a hit. We decided to pivot the product back to a premium subscription product focused on weight loss. While this was the right decision for the business, I wasn’t passionate about working in the weight loss space.

When a recruiter from Literati called, I picked up the phone.

Literati

Why I joined: A category I was obsessed with. As a lifelong bookworm and mom, innovating in the kids book space with Literati was a dream. I loved that we had a DTC component and an omni-channel (retail-like) approach with our move into book fairs

Why I stayed: We were constantly doing something new. At Literati, each quarter presented a new and exciting challenge. Over my time at Literati, we built a team and organized into cross functional squads, defined our target customer, launched book fairs, ramped up creative testing, developed a customer listening panel, diversified into OTT, programmatic display and direct mail, developed lead generation campaigns for book fairs and launched content marketing.

Why I left: Lay-offs. We were doing too much across the business. We decided to focus on book fair sales and cut marketing investment. This resulted in layoffs across several teams including much of marketing.

What I‘m prioritizing next

Mission-driven brand —I obsess over my customers as a marketer, so working for a mission-driven brand keeps my fire lit.

A place where I can develop my people’s careers — At this point, I get more satisfaction figuring out how to grow the careers of the people who work for me than strategizing my own career. Finding a place that’s serious about team development is a priority.

Growth stage, post product-market fit — It’s taken me some time to learn this, but I’m great at adding structure and process when a team is ready to operationalize growth. I’m not as good when a company is still trying to figure out product-market fit.

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