Starting at about 16 years old, I launched my Kaleidoscope Career at a small town, family owned restaurant in middle-of-nowhere Kansas. From there, I did manual labor at two different cabinet factories in the area (I was the only woman to stick it out longer than a week or two on the chop-saw at the first one; I’ll be honest, I really liked the chop-saw). I was a carhop at Sonic, a sandwich queen at Subway, and mastered multiple departments at Wal-Mart. It was a town of less than 12,000, but I managed to keep things interesting in my work.
I also played nanny in Michigan and worked at a hotel and then a greenhouse in Wisconsin. I moved back to Kansas from Wisconsin in 2009 to finish my associate’s degree and got my first desk job at one of the best hospitals I’ve ever been to. It was not only my first office job, but my first exposure to Total Quality Management styled leadership and a company that invested in its employees.
When I graduated in 2009, I moved to Omaha, Nebraska for more opportunities. I worked as a temp for a school district and as a seasonal employee for a vaccination supply company. I found that I was adept at accounting and organizing, and garnered some pretty high praise for new girl.
I eventually landed a temp-to-hire position at a distribution center in Omaha, where I stayed for 3 1/2 years. In the first year, I moved from a basic receptionist position to an accounts receivable specialist and credit manager. I also got a great jump in pay, thanks to my negotiating skills and one fantastic controller.
It was here that I began to realize I had a great deal more potential than being simply a paper-pusher. I took over the AR department from an incredible woman who had done the job for 30 years and kept everything in her head. I only got a week or so to train with her, and I was very busy trying to learn everything and keep my head above water. Eventually though, I took the aged AR past 90 days from 12% down to about 4%, documented all the processes and procedures for my department, and improved the collection process quite a bit.
I was asked to join the Ethics Committee, and spent several months crafting a custom, one-of-a-kind code of ethics for the company. I also headed a Relay For Life fundraising campaign (we did over $1,600 in donations; not bad for our first time). I learned I was very passionate about employee engagement. And I was told by a career advisor not to venture out of accounting and to stick to what I knew.
Yep, that’s right. After years of working in nearly every field and industry one could imagine in the Midwest, I was told I would be better off in one position. I began to feel ashamed of my colourful resume, and kept most of my experiences off of it, in favour of the accounting positions.
I did branch out slightly after that, by getting an office manager position for a local non-profit. Of course, 90% of my job was basic administration and accounting, so it wasn’t as much of a leap as I had wanted to take, partly just to prove the career advisor wrong. But I also experienced the world of non-profits, learned a great deal more about processes, and got to spend at least some of my time writing and editing publications, handling event administration, and meeting some pretty amazing Omahans, like Bob Bates and Gallup’s Todd Johnson. I even got to shake hands with the mayor of a big city, something my young country-girl self would hardly have imagined.
I felt that my career was finally taking off, but it was only another learning experience for me. The non-profit reorganized and found they preferred a part-time bookkeeper to a full-time office manager. I was offered the position, of course, but knew I needed something full-time to support myself in the city alone. So I moved on.
I went back to accounting, working for one of the best companies I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing: a wellness company in Omaha that offers biometric screenings and flu clinics to companies nationwide. The dress code was casual, the people were phenomenal, and even the work wasn’t bad. I worked for another fantastic controller, this one being probably my favourite boss of all time, and loved the purpose of the company. For the second time in my accounting career, I ended up spending a good portion of my time on analysis, problem solving, and documenting processes, things that I have begun to learn are my strengths.
I also graduated from Bellevue University with a 3.9 GPA and a shiny new BS in Business Analysis. And this was the turning point in my career: I finally saw the strength of my real resume. As I worked through the accelerated course at Bellevue, I saw firsthand how limiting a one-field career can be. I realized that my experiences in a wide variety of positions, fields, industries, and company types were actually creating a rich foundation for me to become a business process improvement specialist.
I finally got a position a little further away from accounting: an operations specialist for a payment solutions company, another of my favourite organizations in Omaha. I also began my Master’s course at Bellevue University in Organizational Performance, and really started focusing on enriching my knowledge base for processes, procedures, and change management.
After a few months with that company, however, I I began to feel bored and stuck. I was primarily expected to handle very mundane, day-to-day, simple tasks, and less of the problem-solving and analysis I was expecting. I spent the fall back at the wellness company, helping them through a busy season, where we realized that all the improvements I had helped them make the previous two busy seasons had reduced our workload quite a bit, and helped the processes flow more smoothly.
In March, I continued my upward climb with a contract at Yahoo! Inc. This is probably the most fun, enjoyable work experience yet, and I love the work. Now, I’m an analyst in the full sense of the word, and 95% of my day is spent doing analysis, problem solving, research, and process improvement: my favourite things.
Now I’m looking for more companies that need my rich, strong expertise and analytical skills to help them improve their processes, their procedures, their documentation, even their culture. Thanks to my experiences, I can provide services to non-profits, large and medium companies, health care organizations, manufacturing facilities, warehouses, small businesses, educational facilities, and everything in between.
I invest a great deal into every project, devoting every spare moment to researching and developing the knowledge that will build the best possible solutions for improvement to processes for a business. I value my work, from the mundane to the transformative, and I put forth the best work I can every time.
I believe in empowering employees to make the best decisions for themselves and their company, developing automation and tools to support efficient and effective procedures, and properly documenting processes for training and control.
Click here to view my profile on LinkedIn: