Today marks my one-year anniversary at Credit Karma. When I first got this job, I said I’d wait and see if I was still happy after six months. Six months came and went without any doubt that I was still in the right place for me and my career. In the past year, I’ve…
- answered 1000 tickets in one day
- discovered a love of finding bugs and the hard part of waiting for them to be fixed
- learned how to talk to engineers
- seen my team triple in size
- seen Credit Karma double in size
- been promoted to a lead role
- gone through credit 101 (let me tell you about hard inquires…)
- sat at three different desks on two different floors
Last week, a fellow lead and I dropped by a customer service meetup hosted by UserVoice. One attendee asked me when I knew I wanted to do customer service for a living. I paused and answered that I made that decision when I started at Credit Karma. Taking that offer meant that I believed more in customer service’s ability to push me than doing social media ever did.
A year later, I feel fortunate that I could do social media/marketing in college and then confidently and successfully make customer service my new thing. Work is still immensely challenging in good and bad ways. I love successfully explaining a confusing feature. I love answering people’s simple questions. I love making work easier for other specialists and finding out cool things we can do with our ticketing system. The bad? It’s frustrating figuring out different ways to communicate the same thing to members. It’s frustrating trying to get engineers to fix things. Several times, I’ve lost my cool. Then there are times when you’re bored out of your mind. You feel like you couldn’t possibly answer another ticket. But you keep going.
Last month, CK’s social media manager and I attended a social media for customer service conference. I don’t know why, but I was shocked at all these things I’d never thought or heard about. It also boggled my mind that there are people out there who LOVE doing customer service. They have a real passion for helping people and finding ways to do that efficiently and effectively. But they also have fun with it - “surprise and delight” was one my favorite takeaways. There’s so much more about this industry that I have to learn.
At the same time, I’m hesitantly branching out again. One downside to working in the real world is that it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind. I’ll admit that for a really long time, I stopped thinking about my future and goals. College Charmaine was bonkers obsessed with that stuff. Adult Charmaine had a job and nothing else mattered. But nothing is permanent right? I still have other skills that I should brush up on. I’ve been nervous about writing again. I’ve never felt like I could write well about anything other than my own life. I was worried that I wouldn’t meet these expectations that were based off a life that I left behind. And I was really worried I’d be bored to death and hate, hate, hate it.
Then, I wrote my first article in months yesterday and it flowed. It took two hours to research and write, but damn was I pumped about it. I was surprised by how satisfied I felt with the process and the results.
So who knows what the next year will bring?
The founder of Credit Karma always says there’s more we can do in the space and for our members. I feel the same way about providing support to our members and I’m genuinely excited to see what’s next and what my part will look like in this big, ever-changing craziness that is Credit Karma.
This turned into more of a rumination on my career because that’s been on my mind lately. It also would’ve been boring and braggy to list all the things I love about Credit Karma. But I love it, I do. The dogs and fruit snacks, especially. Oh, and the people. And my boss.
As the clock on Christmas strikes and we move onward to the next celebration, I’m blowing my nose into tissue like I haven’t since The Great Break-up of 2012.
I’m moving out.
OK, I haven’t signed the lease yet, but if everything is fine, I’ll be moving to the Central Sunset next month after only 2-3 weeks of scouring Craigslist. Finding a place moves quickly in SF. And I was not prepared. Neither were my parents.
I never really meant to move out, you know? I didn’t think I’d find a place; it was still like a fantasy in the distant future. But I had that *feeling* when I found this listing, when I headed to the viewing, when I left and couldn’t stop thinking about the place. When I applied that night and when the realtor emailed me back the next afternoon.
That’s a feeling that - in spite of the nerves, tears, and arguments - you can’t ignore.
I’m stubborn as all hell. My parents and even my brother (hardened after his own renting experience) have disagreed with me on this all year, but I believe in renting in order to achieve a sense of independence and live in the real world. I have ZERO desire to own property, to have a mortgage on my back, or to pay rent to my parents. Renting is a perfectly normal thing to do. When did it become so criticized?
Even though I’ve lived on my own before in college and NYC, this is legit. This is real money coming out of my real paycheck every month. That scares the shit out of me. But it’s been a long time since I really shook up my life, and I’m looking forward to some excitement, making adjustments, learning new things about myself, other people (my housemates are total strangers), and my surroundings.
I believe it’s important to stand on your own two feet, to hold your own ground.
And I wish my parents would be excited for me.
Work has been…well, crazy. We launched our new site (a complete overhaul) earlier this month. With that came a barrage of questions, complaints, and problems. When I started at shopkick, they had also just torn apart their app, so I’m used to users being upset about change.
That being said, the past three weeks have been especially tiring and stressful. It has been an uphill battle, and I’m always looking to the weekend. Now, this sounds terrible. But when I’m at work, I hop right to it. I don’t wake up dreading the massive amount of tickets. I’ve worked almost nine hours nearly every day. What has definitely helped is loosening up around co-workers. It doesn’t seem so tough when you can mouth off about an insulting email, rant about a bug, or laugh with others at the ridiculousness of it all. When a complete stranger tells you that you’re terrible at your job, it really helps to have some perspective.
The thing is, this is what we do. We clear up perceptions about the company and its services. We assuage upset members, irrational or rational. We find problems for the engineers to fix. And we fix things ourselves. And once in a while, members say thank you. They love the website, even the new features. They love that we respond within 3 business days.
And that rare token of appreciation overwhelms me.
Even when the members don’t have nice things to say, at least once a week, I’ll look around and feel a soaring inside of me. I feel proud of what we’re doing as a team and company. And I feel happy.
It’s sappy but honestly kind of foreign to me in a workplace. And isn’t it weird to be both stressed and satisfied? Whatever this is, I hope it lasts.