“Feel the fear, but do it anyway – things will just get easier. You will make mistakes along the way, but that’s just a sign that you are learning.”
That’s the advice that Foundations Consultant, Lauren, shared when we started talking about all things life and career. And for someone who took a leap in changing her career from real estate sales to IT sales and then finally the big switch to consulting (where we are lucky to have her!), she knows first hand what fear looks like. I had the chance to sit down with Lauren and learn more about her professional journey.
Here is what she had to say:
Making a career change is a brave move – and a scary one. What made you take the leap? “I realized my career in sales was a lot of repetition. It wasn’t as stimulating or challenging as I would have liked. My husband encouraged me to go back to school for an Accounting degree, and it ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
With this decision came a lot of commitment. What did that look like? “Making a career change is scary at first. For me, I had no background in Accounting when I was looking to make that shift, and ultimately I needed to go back to get another Bachelor’s degree. I remember that being a pretty big blow to my plan, as I thought I’d be able to just hop into a Master’s program. It was daunting, and there were tears, but I made it through! The process of changing direction is hard, but it’s so rewarding in the end. Before I made the change, I had very limited opportunities and I wasn’t stimulated. I look back now, and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
How did you learn about Protiviti? “I asked one of my professors for his thoughts on the different firms. I let him know that culture was important to me. He encouraged me to consider consulting and recommended Protiviti. He called it the ‘Land of Nice People’. That really caught my attention. He was kind enough to connect me with my now colleague, Cassie. I loved the vibe I got from her and everyone else I met during recruiting. Now when I’m talking to people about Protiviti, I too call it the ‘Land of Nice People’”.
I personally love that so much, I might catch on to the ‘Land of Nice People’. You also had the opportunity to join the first class of Foundations. What interested you about Foundations? “Foundations offers people in consulting a totally diverse experience. In most roles at other companies I spoke with, I felt the path was very distinct and clear cut, but Protiviti was offering this unique opportunity, and that was enticing. Additionally, nothing is permanent. People here are willing to help you navigate your career. With the ability to see a number of different projects across various industries, I’m finding I can build my skills out – and those skills are diverse and transferable.”
That’s definitely what we’re trying to achieve! Can you tell me a bit more about your project experience? “I worked on one project that was project management, based in San Diego. On that engagement, I had the opportunity to meet with many of the client’s VPs and Executive Team members, which was somewhat scary at first, but it ended up being a great experience and opportunity for me to get more comfortable speaking in groups. After that project, I moved on to an internal audit engagement, which I found fascinating. It helped me develop interview skills and build confidence in my ability to ask the right questions. Now, I’m doing some work focused in Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, or SOX. With SOX, I’ve found that the time management skills I learned in college have been really applicable. I’ve also been able to pull in some skills from my earlier projects. So, it all comes full circle!”
With the opportunity to see diverse projects, what has been your experience with advisors? “I can definitely say my experience with advisors, both formally and informally, has been really positive. There’s always someone to answer any of my questions. For example, I am really interested in Data & Analytics, and one of the Directors in our office sat down with me and even connected me to others outside of our office. People here are willing to help you–they want you to succeed.”
If you could offer one piece of advice to incoming Foundations Consultants, what would that be? “Talk with your career advisor and really leverage the Foundations philosophy – ask them ‘how can I make my career happen?’. There’s always room to re-adjust, and there’s always someone who will help guide you to your area of interest.”
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