What I’ve Learned 8 Months Into My First Full-Time Job in Tech

Flashback to one year ago today. It was my senior year of college and, like most students in my class, there were only two things on my mind: graduate and get a job. At the time, I already had a job offer from a company I had been interning with since the beginning of my senior year. Was I crazy about the company? Eh. Was I passionate about the role? Not really. Did I accept the job? You betcha.

Why? A couple reasons. For starters, I didn’t know any better. I had interned with other companies previously and even had a few other job offers, but none of them were really aligned with what I wanted to do. But then again, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Over my morning cup of coffee I’d be applying to banking jobs in Chandler, Arizona, and by that evening I’d be researching teaching fellowships in Taiwan. I was all over the place without actually getting anywhere, and eventually lowered the bar on my post-grad expectations because of it.

I accepted an offer from the startup I was interning for as a Content Writer and figured, with the decision finally done, I’d sit back and enjoy some of that “senioritis” everyone had been talking about. Only it wasn’t nearly as refreshing as I had hoped.

As graduation got closer, the days at work got longer and my quality of work weakened. My boss had adopted this “get it done” mindset that was inspiring in the beginning, but began to wear over time as expectations increased and transparency decreased. I began to doubt whether I was providing any real value to the company and increasingly if it would provide me with any real value for my career development. From there, things continued to trend downhill. I would show up to work every day, pour myself an extra large cup of coffee, and get to work without once losing track of how much time was left before I could go home. I started to think, “This is what the rest of my life is going to look like.”

Fortunately, I had the power to change that and as hard as it was to go back on my word to my current company, I knew I had to do what was best for me. With only about two weeks left till graduation, I started applying to jobs again. When I came across Medallia, I immediately applied and ended up hearing back from a recruiter the following morning. We set up a phone screen for the next day and things continued to pick up from there.

About two months, half a dozen interviews, and one onsite visit to Medallia’s HQ later, I had received and accepted an offer on Medallia’s campus recruiting team. I have since been working at Medallia full-time for eight months, but as anyone working here will tell you, that number is about double if you’re counting in Medallia years.

Think back to the last time you lost track of time while focusing on a task. I’m talking about heads-down, 100%, all-hands, “what year is it” type of focus. That’s sort of what everyday here feels like. I don’t call them Medallia years because it feels like I’ve been here forever, although in some ways it does. I call them Medallia years because everything here happens so fast.

From my very first day here in our onboarding program, I jumped right into a hands-on environment that questions, challenges and pushes me not just to be the best employee I can be, but to be an all-around better person. And it should be no surprise that with the latter also comes the former. I’m not just talking about the cliche “go around the room and tell us a fun fact” spiel. Medallia wants to know what gets you out of bed every morning and what keeps you up at night; what your biggest accomplishments are and what are your biggest failures. We want to know why you are you. And it doesn’t just stop there.

About two weeks into my new role here, I was already working directly with candidates. One month in, I was able to get my job done with minimal supervision, just in time for our pipeline of roughly 1,100 candidates to open up during campus recruitment season. Two months in, I was balancing all the day-to-day responsibilities of my job with exciting new side projects. One that comes to mind involved reducing Travel & Expense costs by coming up with a solution to improve the candidate experience for those in their final round that are unable to fly out to our headquarters (If you’re wondering the solution we came up with, you’re going to have to apply!).

Now here I am eight months in and fully owning my role. More importantly, I’ve learned the difference between “owning your system” and simply doing your job. No one here is going to force you to get involved on side projects that pop up–but you can. More importantly, no one here is going to tell you to challenge and improve the systems your organization has in place–but you can. Even more, you’ll be provided with the resources and support to do it.

The company is growing quickly and constantly improving, but at the core of all that change our culture still remains resilient. We aren’t perfect and we don’t pretend to be, which is why this was the ideal place for a recent grad such as myself to embrace my mistakes, learn from them and continue to grow–just like Medallia is doing each and every day.

Looking back, I see how foolish I was, after 16 years of hard work in school, to settle for the first opportunity to come my way that “didn’t seem too bad”. To any soon-to-be-college graduates out there–keep looking. You’ll find that job you gave up on thinking existed. Maybe for you it is that banking job in Chandler, Arizona, or teaching english in Taiwan. Or maybe it’s Medallia. Whatever it is, make sure you’re happy; make sure you’re doing more than just what’s in your job description; and make sure you didn’t settle.

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Ryan Lynch

Ryan is a New Jersey native and recent Bay Area transplant after graduating last May. He is currently a Talent Coordinator at Medallia, helping to support their campus and engineering recruitment efforts.