People who know exactly what they want to do with their career when they enter the workforce are a rare breed. It often takes years of introspection, self-discovery, experience and luck to determine a perfect fit. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has found the average time spent at one job is 4.2 years. People are constantly on the search for the job that will provide the right mix of qualities to satisfy them. Sometimes though, that can be found with your current employer. You just have to know where to look.
Colin Hartwig started at Seismic in June of 2016 as a Client Development Representative. He was introduced to the company by an acquaintance and found the perfect opportunity to make a career change. “Seismic offered a unique opportunity and was also a dynamic and growing startup environment,” Hartwig says.
Inside sales jobs are not exactly for the faint of heart, but Hartwig found a different environment at Seismic – one that was rewarding and focused on growth. “I was still able to be creative and be part of a team, which was really important for me,” he says. “Other inside sales teams can have that cut-throat vibe, but here it felt like everyone was working together towards a common goal and had a team-first mentality.”
As Hartwig gained more experience and a better understanding of Seismic, he started to feel like his skills could be utilized in a different way. His previous experience as a math teacher and a coach made him think his penchant for problem solving and instructing would lend itself to a customer facing role. “I knew a lot of my strengths lied on the problem solving side of things. The challenge of helping customers achieve everything that want using Seismic was one that became exciting to me.” Before that could happen though, he needed to run the idea by the higher-ups.
Hartwig had only been in his role for a few months, so the position change was not a guarantee. However, he found that the idea was warmly received. “I talked to my manager, Kevin Donovan, in a meeting one day and told him that I’d like to explore that option,” Hartwig recalls. “He was super receptive and helpful from the get-go.” Not only was Donovan receptive of the idea, he actually helped facilitate the move – going so far as to set up meetings with the Customer Success team to ease the transition.
“I was so appreciative of that,” says Hartwig. “Kevin totally went out his way to promote what I wanted to do internally.” Hartwig has the feeling that this is not exactly a normal operating procedure from most organizations. “We have so many incredible leaders here at Seismic who allow their team members to thrive and grow within the company. I’m grateful because I feel like that’s not something that happens at every company.”
With such an easy transition Hartwig is excited to dive right into the work and make a difference. “Overall my job will be helping to make Seismic customers happy,” he says, hinting at his natural inclination towards helping others succeed – whether in the classroom, on the field, or at Fortune 500 companies. He’s also ready to continue to grow with Seismic, “I’m excited to continue to learn new skills. I was able to gain a lot of great skills on the sales side, but in this role I’ll be able to add a bit of technical skill set as well.” One of the benefits of transitioning within the same company is the ability to build different skills and gain new complementary knowledge.
He has advice for those considering making a role change; “I’d say first, be proactive. You won’t be able to make a change if you don’t initiate it.” Even more so, Hartwig believes it’s about gauging your surroundings. “I was lucky enough to be in situation at Seismic where my boss and my team were very supportive of me making the switch,” He says. “I’d recommend putting yourself in an environment where you have an open line of communication and feel comfortable having those conversations.”
So where does Hartwig go from here? Is he destined to stay in this role for the foreseeable future, completely satisfied with his career? “To be honest, I don’t know exactly where this will lead me,” he says.
He pauses to consider and continues, “Maybe I’ll like it so much that I want to stay in customer success, or maybe I’ll want to explore even more options. Either way, I know I’ll have the flexibility here to be able to pursue whatever I’m interested in.”