Rising Pro

The Seven Year Career Itch

I’m about to turn 29, which means two things;

1. My 20s are almost over

2. I’ve been in the workforce for almost seven years.

As I near the first decade of my career, I’ve got an itch. I’m starting to ask myself, ‘Have I done enough in my career so far?’ and ‘Will I be able to do more?’

It’s easy to minimize your work and accomplishments when you still feel like a young(er), less seasoned professional. I constantly feel like there’s so much more to learn and do in my career, and whatever I’ve done, it’s not enough.

This way of thinking can throw you into a negative tailspin really fast.

So, when I start feeling this way, I stop myself. Then I take a few minutes to look back and reflect on what I’ve accomplished so far in my career, either jotting down a list or reciting it in my head.

This is a great exercise to show yourself what you’ve achieved in a relatively short amount of time. It also helps you grasp what you can accomplish over a career and lifetime.

For instance, in 7 years, I have:

  • Gone from making $9.50 an hour to six figures a year
  • Traveled all over the world for work
  • Established and grown the Rising Pro blog
  • Uprooted my life, moving from Chico, Calif., to San Francisco to advance my career (and fulfill a childhood dream)
  • Worked at four companies, including Llano Seco Rancho, EXL, MSLGROUP and Salesforce
  • Served on three boards, previously The Boys & Girls Clubs and PRSA-SF, and currently YPOSF
  • Planned and executed two Dreamforce events at Salesforce

The point of this list isn’t to gloat, it’s to build yourself up by showing evidence that you’re enough and that you’re going to continue doing great things if you keep going.

Once you make a list, thoughts like ‘I haven’t done enough’ or ‘There’s so much more to do’ turn into ‘I’ve accomplished a lot in my career so far’ and ‘I have the capacity to achieve my goals.’

The next time you’re feeling intimidated, discouraged or overwhelmed, I encourage you to simply stop, look back and reflect. It will boost your confidence and energy to keep moving toward your goals. If you’re just getting started in your career, or have a short list, start jotting down some goals to accomplish in the next 3-5 years and then get busy. In fact, I’m going to share mine with you now to keep me honest:

5 Year Goals

  • Become a respected manager & leader
  • Start a business or organization
  • Help people advance in their careers for a living
  • Write a book and get it published
  • Serve on another board
  • Learn a new language/technical skill, like coding or web design
  • Take a sabbatical
  • Live and work somewhere outside the U.S.
  • Take time away from work to start a family of my own

I challenge you all to stop and reflect on your accomplishments constantly and to always keep rising no matter your age or stage in life.

Challenge: Compose a list of your main career accomplishments so far, as well as your goals for the next five years. Share below! 

Rising Pro

5 Ways to Get Your Digital Self In Shape for 2017

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been seeing A LOT of stories about New Years’ resolutions. Resolutions to eat better, exercise more and even meditate on the regular. Your physical and mental well-being are great areas to refocus on at the start of a new year, but what about getting your digital self into shape?

When’s the last time you took a long, hard look at your online presence?

It’s so easy to create profiles, online docs, websites and other digital assets and let them sit for years and years without doing much to keep them current.

But if you’re trying to get hired, attract new clients or promote your services, you better believe your digital footprint is going to influence how people perceive you and your work.

Not sure where to start? Here are 5 ways to get your digital self into shape for the new year so it’s as fit as you.

  1. Google Yourself: This is a great starting point to see what your name is tied to online. Typically, it will be things like social media profiles, news stories, published work or your website/blog. If you don’t see anything until the second page or nothing at all, you have problem. It’s time to make a bigger digital footprint by creating profiles and regularly posting content to keep you at the top of the search. If you’re coming up on the first page but you don’t like what you see, use it as motivation to clean up your online presence.

2. Renovate Your Resume: If you’re a job seeker using job search sites Indeed or Monster, make sure your resume on file is up to date. If potential employers are looking at an outdated resume, they might pass it over because they don’t see a skill or qualification you actually have. If you have your resume posted on your personal website, check it every six months to make sure nothing is missing from the last time you posted it.

3. Update Your LinkedIn: A lot of people have a LinkedIn profile, but many of them fail to update it regularly. It’s so easy to forget to log a promotion, job change, new skill, accomplishment or certification. Then before you know it, you find yourself with a very out of date online resume that doesn’t show off how amazing you really are. Don’t let it slip, keep your professional profiles updated so you look appealing and accomplished to current/future employers, clients and coworkers. Pro tip: When you update your resume, make it a standard practice to update your LinkedIn profile at the same time!

4. Clean Up Your Social Media: Our social media platforms are usually what come up the most when employers or clients Google our names, so make sure they don’t find something inappropriate. If you’re worried about what other people are tagging you in on Facebook, go into your settings and change your tagging preferences so you can approve every post before it’s shared on your profile. As for posting about political or controversial topics, do so at your own risk. I’m all for freedom of speech, but always ask yourself, ‘Would I want my employer or clients to see this?’ If the answer is no, think twice about sharing strong opinions on social.

5. Keep Your Website Fresh: From having a blog myself, I know how much work goes into creating a website in the first place. After it’s complete, it’s easy to set it and forget it, but you need to force yourself to keep it fresh. I waited 5 years before updating the layout for Rising Pro! As a result, it started to look outdated, especially to new readers. If you have a website or blog, aim to make improvements and updates on a yearly basis to keep it current.

Don’t be like Ling

How do you plan to get your digital self into shape for the new year? 

Rising Pro

Rising PROfile: Rich Casale Retires

One week ago today, Rich Casale (my dad) retired from the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service after 43 years.

I think I can speak for many young pros when I say that 40+ years at one place is hard to imagine. I’ve only been in the workforce for a little over six years and I’m already on my 4th job.

I’ve always admired my dad for his dedication to his work and passion for helping and inspiring others. I’ve even heard people call him ‘The Legend.’ After attending his retirement party last week and meeting some of the people he’s worked with, it’s clear he’s leaving a legacy in his wake.

Although I typically profile pros who are in the first half of their careers, I thought this pivotal career moment, one we all experience at some point, was the perfect opportunity to capture his candid advice and honor his amazing work.

What is the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)?

“The NRCS has been around for 80+ years and is one of the oldest conservation organizations in the world. We provide free (non-regulatory) technical and financial assistance to private landowners. Essentially, we are “helping people help the land.”

My dad sharing his thanks and insights at his retirement party.

Tell me about your role at the NRCS. When did you start, what was your first job and how has it evolved from there? 

“I actually started working with the NRCS in our Santa Barbara office back in 1974 after receiving a B.S. in Natural Resources from Humboldt State University. Back then we were called the Soil Conservation Service (SCS). I transferred to the Salinas office in 1975, which served both Monterey and Santa Cruz County at the time.

During those early years, I was working with the pioneers of our agency who started their careers in the 1930s.

In 1978, the struggling Redwood and Pajaro Resource Conservation Districts (RCD) of Santa Cruz County reorganized their boundaries to form the RCD of Santa Cruz County.  The new RCD opened an office in Soquel and by 1979 it also became a NRCS office, serving only Santa Cruz County.

I applied and was offered the District Conservationist position for the new NRCS office, which I held until last Tuesday, my final day with NRCS.”

What does it feel like to walk out the door after 43 years on the job?

“I just walked out of the door a week ago, so I’m not sure what it feels like yet. Looking back on my career, I can honestly say my job defined me. Although it’s not a popular thing to admit, in my case, it’s mostly true. And I’m okay with it because I loved what I got to do every single day. Perhaps one of the things I loved doing most was giving young people a chance to get work experience as an Earth Team volunteer. I was also fortunate to work for an agency that can take a lead role in helping people and communities following natural disasters.”

What have been your biggest accomplishments over your career? 

“1. Being a co-founder of the international Certified Professional Erosion and Sediment Control Program in 1981. Today, more than 5,000 professionals have become certified in 13 countries around the world.
2. Pioneering volunteerism in USDA by signing up the first three volunteers in 1981. To date, more than 400,000 Earth Team volunteers have contributed 15+ million hours to the conservation effort across America.
3. Assisting the struggling RCD of the 1970s to reorganize their territories and form the county-wide RCD of Santa Cruz County that has become a conservation force on the national scale with a multi-million dollar budget.

4. Assisting thousands of landowners on their private properties with disaster recovery following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, as well as Bay Area and Southern California fires, storms and flood emergencies since 1978.”

Our family celebrating with my dad.

What are your thoughts on mentors?

“Mentors are an absolute necessity, formal or informal. We all need someone we admire, look up to and learn from. Mentors can also provided much needed support and encouragement.”

How will you keep rising in your career — what’s next?

“I’ll return to NRCS as an Earth Team volunteer to help train my successor. I also remain open to invitations to speak, mentoring young people starting off their careers and continuing my work with agricultural organizations and community efforts. Also, as owners of Port of Travel, my wife and I will continue to plan and lead group travel adventures and educational tours around the globe.”

Looking back over your long, successful career, what’s your best advice to Rising Pros?
“1. Find your passion and do something that you love. Also, look at the whole job: benefits, advancement opportunities, flexibility, job security, etc. Don’t just do it for the money!
2. Get an “edge” that sets yourself apart from other job seekers.
3. Join and become active in professional societies.
4. Become certified, registered and/or licensed in a specialized field.
5. Volunteer to gain experience in areas you’re looking to expand your learning. Remember that any work experience, paid or unpaid, is better than no experience.
6. When interviewing, come prepared and present a professional image, but also be personable. Many employers look for chemistry/team fit first. They can teach you what you don’t know.
7. It’s ALL about connections. Knowing someone who knows someone is how many people get jobs.
8. Google yourself to make sure you have a professional online presence. Clean up your social media sites if necessary.
9. Find a job that allows you to enjoy all 7 days of the week, so you’re not just living for the weekend.
10. It’s not about how little you can do to get by in this life, it’s about how much you can do to make a difference.”

 

Connect with Rich on LinkedIn, or if you’re interested in having him as a speaker or mentor, you can email him here.

Rising Pro

Top 5 Rising Pro Posts of 2016

It’s that time again – when I share my top Rising Pro posts for the year.

I slowed down a little with the amount of posts I wrote in 2016 but I still managed to talk to some amazing rising professionals, share stories about my work at Salesforce and dish out some real-time career advice.

This is my last post of 2016 so I wanted to use it to share your favorite reads. Yet again, the Rising PROfiles were everyone’s favorite. I hear you and I’ll keep profiling interesting young professionals in 2017. In fact, if you know someone who would make a good profile (even if it’s you), e-mail me. I’d love to hear their story.

Without further adieu, below are the top five posts of 2016, in order of popularity:

  1. Rising PROfile: Jen Dewalt Writes Her Own Code
  2. Rising Profile: Albert Cheng Switches to Startup
  3. Three Thoughts from Joe Garvey
  4. Rising PROfile: Cady Marsh Gets Social
  5. 3 Lessons From My First Year at Salesforce

What was your favorite Rising Pro post of 2016?

Rising Pro

Why You Should Scare Yourself More

If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that I need to scare myself more often.

I had a grand plan at the start of 2016 to get out of my comfort zone and try things that scare me to become a more well-rounded professional and person.

I chose two areas in particular:

  1. Public Speaking: Taking every opportunity I could to speak in public. Whether it be a full-blown presentation at Dress for Success San Francisco, sharing my Salesforce experience with a group of new hires, or introducing speakers at Young Professionals of San Francisco (YPOSF) events. After a year of speaking to large groups at least one a month, I became more comfortable at the front of a room and it wasn’t scary anymore.
  2. Getting More Technical: Tackling my fear of owning a more technical role on my team, like managing live demonstrations at Salesforce events. This entails learning and speaking in technical terms, managing the execution of demos and creating best practice documentation. The first time I did it on my own, it was a disaster. By my eighth show, I could do it in my sleep.

In both instances, I started out feeling insecure and scared, but also determined to succeed. Now as I type this today, I can honestly say I feel confident and accomplished in both areas.

Now comes the hard part; finding new things that scare me.

That alone is scary because it’s hard to step away from the things you feel confident doing and focus your energy on learning something new. But if you don’t, you’ll probably never find out what you’re really made of.

Looking back, this was my one big mistake.

I didn’t find new fears once the old ones stopped being scary. I got use to the feeling of coasting by and not really working too hard to succeed. As a result, I stunted my growth.

If I would have pushed myself just a little bit harder this year, I’d be a lot further along. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve come a long way, but there are always more fears to face, lessons to learn and opportunities to grow.

My message is this; don’t get too comfortable doing any one thing. Continue to do what you’re good at, but also constantly be on the hunt for things that scare you and help you become even better.

In the words of Nasty Gal Founder Sophia Amoruso, “Life is Short. Don’t be Lazy.”

Rising Pro

Rising PROfile: Yulia Mitchell Knows How to Sell San Francisco

Zephyr Realtor Yulia Mitchell is a go-getter, which is essential if you’re a major player in the San Francisco real estate market. yulia_mitchell_bw

Yulia visited San Francisco for the first time in 2011. Less than two hours after arriving, she knew it was the place to be. Three days later, she and her husband signed a lease and moved across the country from Florida to make SF their new home.

I met Yulia around this time last year when she helped me and my fiancé find our first home in SF.

The entire home buying process was both eye-opening and overwhelming, especially in such a competitive market. Thankfully, we had Yulia to guide us through the entire process and do all the heavy-lifting and negotiating, so we ended up getting our dream home at the right price.

Looking back, we still wonder how anyone can navigate the current real estate market without a good realtor. We learned so much from Yulia and had such a great experience that it made me think about this profession and how to be successful in such a non-stop, high-pressure and constantly changing environment.

So I thought I’d get the inside scoop and ask Yulia about what it takes to make it in real estate, current trends and how she plans to keep rising in her career.

What’s it like being a realtor in San Francisco? 

“I believe it feels similar to being an entrepreneur:

  • You must be disciplined. You work as much as you want to make. There is no supervisor forcing you to get out of the bed and come to the office.
  • Financially there is no ceiling, but there is no floor either. We do not have a salary and are 100% commission, so it requires financial planning.
  • It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle. Your friends can turn into your clients and vice versa. You are always a realtor. At the dentist office, at the gym, at your friend’s baby shower, you name it.
  • Your business doesn’t stop at 5 pm; you are on 24/7. I am busy when my clients are free, so it’s normal for me to meet them at 7 pm or 8 pm in my office and weekends are the busiest.
  • Location location location! San Francisco is a great and wonderful city, but it comes with an ultra competitive environment.”

How did you get into real estate?

“I started my career in the real estate industry in 2011. Initially I was a broker’s assistant, but I felt I could do more in this industry. So I got licensed and joined PathMark Realty, a small boutique firm in Burlingame, as an agent. I gained valuable knowledge that allowed me to get a better understanding of the entire process. A few successful deals later, I got invited to join the #1 real estate company in the city, Zephyr Real Estate.” 

What are some of the current real estate market trends in SF?

“The SF real estate market is unique and an outlier when compared to housing across the U.S. We’ve experienced phenomenal growth these last few years and now the market is stabilizing and getting ready for the holiday season. From the end of November until the middle of January, the market tends to slow down. For some, it spells opportunity – if you don’t want to deal with aggressive bidding wars this could be the right time to start looking.

Another major trend in the city is all the new developments. I’m getting more and more requests to see new constructions. I am currently working on a new database of all the active projects and their current available inventories. I want my clients to be able to compare them and get quick and accurate information of all the features, floor plans and pricing. Therefore, I’m constantly touring different developments to establish relationships and collect more data.”

What’s your best advice for people looking to buy a new home right now?  

“Call me! But seriously, get a good agent. Purchasing in the Bay Area could be tricky. Besides short marketing periods and overbids, the city alone has 96 unique neighborhoods and your agent should be knowledgeable enough to guide you through them. It’s a multi-step process and a good realtor will help you discover what’s important for you and will clarify those values. After that, it will be clear and take a lot of stress out of the process in helping to make an important decision.”

What are the biggest challenges in your role?

“Being a realtor is like riding a bike; the moment you stop pedaling, you fall. You have to find and maintain the right balance between your existing clientele and searching for new potential business prospects.”

What is the best part of your job?

“That rewarding feeling when you help someone achieve their goals. I connect with my clients through their experience, especially with first-time homebuyers. It’s the most important financial decision of their lives and you have an opportunity to help them achieve their dreams (no pressure). When you succeeded and your clients become repeat clients because of their experience, this is truly gratifying and validates the hard work I do for my clients. I love my job!”

Are you involved in any professional organizations/groups around the Bay Area?

“Tons! That’s another fun part of my job. I am a member of the National, California and San Francisco Associations of Realtors. A few of my friends and I also run our own networking group, Wealth Entrepreneurs’ Network (WEN). We meet once a month to connect with like-minded professionals across multiple industries.”

Has anyone inspired or mentored you throughout your career?

“I have the opportunity to meet and learn from exceptional agents all the time. This is another benefit of being a part of the Zephyr team. Agents here are very supportive and I truly appreciate the ethics and professional solidarity we have in our office. If I have any questions or need to get some advice, I can always rely on my colleagues.”

What advice can you give to other Rising Professionals interested in getting into real estate?

“Call me! If you set your mind on becoming a realtor, you need to be aware of this sobering statistic: 90% quit during the first 3 years. I always remind my newer colleagues that the first year is the toughest, so you have to power through it. By the end of year 3, you will know for sure if it’s the right thing for you. Remember; no floor, but no ceiling either!”

How do you plan to keep rising in your career?

“Work hard and stay consistent – I’m always out there and working to improve my knowledge, especially in a dynamic market like the Bay Area. I have some independent and co-marketing campaigns running and I am out almost every weekend hosting an open house. Most importantly, I work to keep relationships with my past clients. I am never too busy for a referral.”

What do you like to do for fun?

“I’m a foodie, so living in San Francisco is like heaven! I love going out to eat as much as I love to cook. I also use every opportunity to travel and continually familiarize myself with all the amazing things Northern California has to offer.”

If you’re interested in more advice on breaking into real estate or need a great agent to find your next home in the Bay Area, connect with Yulia on LinkedIn, Facebooke-mail or call her at 415-385-3712.

Rising Pro

3 Things I Learned from My Second Dreamforce

I can’t believe I survived another Dreamforce.

Dreamforce attendees taking over SF!
Dreamforce attendees taking over SF!

If you think I’m being dramatic, I’m not.

For the past 14 years, my company Salesforce has hosted Dreamforce in San Francisco, which has become the largest software event in the world. Professionals, leaders and celebrities visit us for a week of content, empowerment, entertainment and giving back. This year, over 171,000 people showed up and more than 15 million watched online. We had over 2,000 sessions and raised $3M for (RED) and $10M+ for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

Not a bad week.

Last year I wrote about my first Dreamforce and the two main things I learned from it. This year, I thought I would keep with tradition and share my three key takeaways from my second Dreamforce.

This year was much bigger for me.

Forbes Philantrophy (RED) Panel
Forbes Philanthropy (RED) Panel

I had a lot more responsibility, which included leading the production of two keynote rooms, where a combined 24 sessions took place. In addition, I was also managing the VIP experience for 75+ Dreamforce speakers. Therefore, my biggest obstacle was stress management.

I was stretched thin and still learning how to do a lot of new things on the fly. This resulted in 12-14 hour work days, sleepless nights thinking about all the ‘what ifs’ and tense meetings.

Finally, I reached my breaking point about 4 weeks from the event. I decided I couldn’t live or work like this anymore. It was taking a tole on my health, relationships and how I viewed myself. I had to make a change so I made a few key adjustments that turned everything around in a matter of days. Below are three things I learned about how to manage stress during this high profile event:

  • Ask for Help – Fake it till you make it doesn’t always work. This year, I felt like I had a lot to prove by being given more responsibility. But the root of a lot of my stress was not knowing how to do certain things and being too afraid to ask how to do them because I wanted to seem capable. However, once I stopped pretending to know things I didn’t and started asking how to do them, it alleviated so much stress and anxiety. I was less focused on feeling ‘stupid’ and more concerned with getting the job done right.

    My team in the Yerba Buena Theater
    My team in the Yerba Buena Theater
  • Delegate – Delegation is one of the hardest and best remedies for relieving stress. Hard because it’s difficult to let go of things you’ve been working on and also trust another person to do just as good of a job. But it’s the best because once you hand it off, you immediately have more time to deal with more things that really need your attention.
  • Stay Positive – When you’re feeling stressed, one thing that can make it even worse is a negative attitude. Even in the most stressful situations, I find a smile, joke or a positive point of view can turn that stress into fuel to get the job done. I love setting the tone with positivity during a stressful time so my team stays upbeat and feels like they can take on any problem.

The last few months have been the most stressful of my life. But I’m happy I was able to address my stress and minimize it to help execute another great Dreamforce.

How do you manage work stress?

Rising Pro

Rising Profile: Albert Cheng Switches to Startup

AlbertAlbert Cheng has a sweet spot for startups.

He got his first taste of the startup culture at Elemental Technologies, a video solutions company in his hometown of Portland, OR, after graduating from the University of Illinois in Computer Engineering.

Although he loved the fast-paced environment, when the opportunity to bring his video streaming knowledge to Google came along, Albert didn’t hesitate to make the move.

His first job there was to ensure Google was able to live stream the company’s most critical events, including executive all hands meetings and product launches. He transferred to YouTube less than two years later to collaborate with major sports leagues to showcase their highlights. Then he worked with an engineering team to design, build, and launch YouTube Gaming, a dedicated site and app for watching gaming content.

But after five years working in a variety of challenging roles, Albert had a realization. 

“In the back of my head, as much as I loved working at Google, I was itching to re-join a startup where I could impact the bottom line and drive the strategic direction.”

So Albert decided to make another move, but this time from a large, stable company, to a growing, San Francisco transportation startup, Chariot, as Head of Product. Although scary, Albert decided to make the move just a month ago and is already noticing the major differences.

“The day-to-day at a startup is very ambiguous. I have to be comfortable with writing specs, designing user workflows and shipping new features in the face of uncertainty every day. We use weekly sprints and constantly push the envelope. I enjoy moving fast!”

Although it’s been around since 2014, people are still learning what Chariot is all about, so I asked Albert to explain.

“Your work commute sets the tone for how your day goes, and chances are you’re unhappy with it. Chariot solves this problem by creating and operating a crowdfunded network of routes that are fast, reliable, affordable and comfortable.”

But how much does it cost and is it only in San Francisco?

“Chariot accepts commuter benefits and has monthly passes, which can lower your cost to under $3/ride. We are mostly in SF right now but are expanding throughout the Bay Area and will be launching in other cities soon. See if there’s a route for you, download the app, and use the promo code FREEWEEK to give it a try!”

Albert’s first order of business is building out the product and design teams.

“I want to create a collaborative environment where we can be highly productive and create a service that our riders love. Nothing I’ll do at Chariot is more important than hiring the best people possible and empowering them to succeed. The transportation industry is changing rapidly, and Chariot is well-positioned to be the best solution for commuters across the country. We’re only 15 full-time employees, so it’s an appealing time right now to set the foundation for how we’ll expand the service and grow the culture.” 

Aside from growing the Chariot team, he’s also working on some exciting projects, including Chariot Direct, a reverse commute option that serves even more types of customers. While many commuters head to SF’s financial district for work, the reverse commute opens up many new possibilities for other populations, like hospital workers and students who work at UCSF, retail workers in the Marina district, and firefighters in the Presidio.

It’s clear that Albert is passionate about what he does and is well-suited for the startup culture. As such, he has some advice for aspiring startup employees to consider.

“Startups will give a few questions more weight than big companies. First, do you believe in the mission of the company? Be able to clearly articulate the pain point that they are trying to solve and ideally how it has impacted your life. Secondly, are you able to do a lot of things reasonably well? Demonstrate that you’re a generalist and are able to provide value in lots of areas. Finally, is a startup the right thing for the stage in your career? Compared to a big company, you get paid less and work more hours. Make sure that you truly are prepared to grind it out in search of learning a lot and having a big impact.”

Whether it’s receiving his MBA from UC Berkeley, regularly meeting with mentors, reading articles on Medium and business books, like Chaos Monkeys, Play Bigger and The Outsiders, and even being a guest contributor on Rising Pro, Albert is always looking for new ways to rise in his career.

“I’ve always been anxious about making changes in my career, but they seem to work out and help position myself for greater responsibilities. It’s important to take stock of where you’re at and occasionally be willing to jump if the time is right. Here’s an interesting article on the four dimensions of job fulfillment, which is a useful exercise to go through. Sometimes you have to be uncomfortable to make progress. But anyway, I’ve got my hands full with Chariot right now doing what I can to make the company as successful as possible!”

If you’re interested in learning more or working at Chariot, take a look at openings here and e-mail or connect with Albert on LinkedIn

Rising Pro

3 Lessons From My First Year at Salesforce

One year ago today I started working at Salesforce.

Waiting to start my first day at Salesforce
 Picture taken while I was waiting to start my first day at Salesforce.

After applying and interviewing for various positions for over six months, it felt absolutely amazing to walk into the Salesforce lobby at 50 Fremont on that first day as an actual employee rather than a wishful visitor. I even remember thinking, ‘I’ve finally arrived.’

But then that feeling quickly dissolved when I was handed a MacBook that I didn’t know how to use very well, and given a giant list of documents to review to get ‘up to speed.’ I felt completely overwhelmed and found myself wondering how I was going to learn so many things and if I would be ready for my first Dreamforce, which was only eight weeks away.

Long story short, I survived and thrived!

Although I had to learn everything on the fly, I was the lead in one of the keynote rooms and managed production requests for over 50 VIP speakers. After Dreamforce, I mostly focused on coordinating live demonstrations during the keynote at Salesforce World Tours.

Ten shows and cities later, I’ve come a long way from when I first joined this team and I still have a long way to go. Looking back over the past year, I can’t help but feel nostalgic about all the highs and lows, and reflect on what I’ve learned.

Ultimately, I narrowed it down to three lessons. Although I’ve learned these things from working at Salesforce, I’ll bet they can also help you advance at your company. If not, e-mail me about a job:)

1. Stay Hungry – It’s hard getting a job at Salesforce, it’s even harder to keep up once you get in. When I first started, someone told me that the people who do well here are the ones who stay hungry. Now that I’ve been here for a year, I know exactly what they were talking about. This company is jammed packed with smart, creative movers and shakers, who come to work ready to grow, innovate, share ideas and give back. It’s exciting to be a part of that environment, but it also means you’re expected to keep up, both in and outside of your day-to-day. Always stay hungry and you’ll never run out of new ways to grow.

2. Go Beyond Your Team – It’s good to make connections with the people you work with every day, but it’s equally important to proactively reach out to people outside your team. There are so many amazing employees around you from recent college grads to senior leadership and most are willing to grab a coffee and discuss career, life at the company or just connect. Widening your network at work can help you find more opportunities, make new connections and expand your views on projects or the company. 

3. Have Fun – No matter how stressed out or busy you are, find ways to have fun with your team. Whether you’re in the office or on the road, being able to look forward to a team dinner, happy hour or adventure are great ways to reboot and stay motivated through all the craziness. I’ve found laughing and joking can be the best stress relief, and rising to the occasion and making time to have fun, even when you’re exhausted, will help you destress, strengthen ties and give you the energy to keep on going.

What’s the biggest thing you learned during your first year at a new job?

Rising Pro

How To Be Productive During a Slow Summer

It’s finally summer time.

That means warm days, fun trips and outdoor fun. But it can also mean slow days in the office.

With your coworkers being OOO more regularly throughout the summer months, meetings get cancelled, your e-mails go unanswered for longer, and team projects can get stalled, which can leave you with some extra time to fill up. If you’re not someone with a packed summer of weddings, vacations and long weekends, you may be finding yourself taking a longer lunch and scanning social media more than usual.

But just because you don’t have as much of your normal work doesn’t mean you can’t be just as productive during summer. To get you started, here some things I like to do when it gets a little light at work:

  • Plan Lunch Dates: Less work means you actually have time to take a lunch outside the office. Seize the opportunity and make a weekly lunch date throughout the summer months with coworkers, mentors or business contacts to reconnect, talk shop or expand your network. You can obviously do this throughout the year, but during the slower times you won’t feel as stressed or rushed, so you can enjoy and get a lot more out of the interaction.
  • Get (Way) Ahead: When you feel like all your immediate work is done, look down the road to see or anticipate your next project. If it’s a big one, it’s never too early to start. What can you do now to better prepare you for it later? Even if it’s as simple as creating checklists, calendar invites/reminders or agenda templates. Then once it’s time to officially get started, you’ll be prepared and already on your way to completion.
  • Seek Improvements / Innovations: Summer is a great time to slow down and reflect. Not only personally, but also professionally. Take a deeper look at the processes or best practices on your team or across teams. There can always be improvements so take this time to research and propose some new best practices, technologies or innovations that your team can benefit from. Then share them or set up a meeting to get the conversation started and discuss next steps.
  • Attend Trainings / Talks: A lot of companies host internal trainings or talks throughout the year. Take advantage of these during the summer months. Why? If you’re not crazy busy, you’ll pay more attention to the content, instead of checking e-mail every 5 minutes. If your company doesn’t offer trainings or talks, check out local industry and professional groups’ event calendars, or even Eventbrite and Meetup. Also, if you have a allocated dollar amount for professional development, ask your manager if you can attend a training course outside of work for a day or half day that pertains to your job or will help expand your skill set.
  • Give Back: If you’re fortunate enough to have volunteer time off (VTO), take advantage of it. Even if it’s just an hour during lunch or in between meetings a few times a month. Make time to volunteer now because once it starts picking up again, you may be too mentally or physically tired to regularly give back.
  • Check In With Yourself: When it’s slowyou have the opportunity to step back and think about your career as a whole and ask yourself some important questions. Check in with yourself and make sure you’re growing in your role, feel happy and fulfilled, and think about what might be next for you. If you’re happy in your role, set goals with yourself and manager to help you get to the next level. If you’re unhappy, find out why and work with your manager to discuss your work load, role or why you may be struggling and determine ways to adjust. If you realize you’re miserable in your job and know you don’t have a future in your role or at your company, start researching and talking with others about alternative career options internally or start the job hunting process. Whatever your situation, slowdowns at work are a great time to access your career path and set yourself up for future success.

What do you do when it’s slow at work?