How’d You Get The Job is FYA’s latest series where you get to meet the team behind FYA and find out, well, how they got their job!
At FYA we love talking about jobs, careers and the skills you need to get from one job to another. We know that a young person today is likely to have 17 jobs across 5 different industries. It’s no longer about the linear career path! We don’t have to look much further than our very own team to find out just what that non-linear path might look like in action.
Once you’re done getting acquainted with $20 Boss Program Manager and resident sartorial hero, Annie Buckeridge, you can head here and meet Digital Coordinator Sam Danby.
What’s your title, what does it mean and what do you do?
My Job Title is Program Manager. It means that I am responsible for a program here at FYA called $20 Boss. I manage all parts of the program — from talking with teachers, going to schools through to writing strategy papers and reporting on our registrations. It’s anything and everything. It’s a super fun world.
What were you doing before FYA?
Before FYA, I was working at a professional services firm in Human Capital – which is a fancy sounding name for people-related queries and programs. It was a super corporate big wig company — something which I struggled with daily. I just didn’t fit in. I remember a mentor of mine mentioning that it’s important to get corporate experience if you really want to make a difference in not-for-profit land. I gave them two years. Now looking back — the power of hindsight — it was actually awesome. I had a really brilliant team of intelligent and strong women who backed me and I learnt a tonne. Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve learnt until you’re put in another environment #excelspreadsheetsforever.
What did you study at uni (if at all)? Is it relevant to your job?
I did my undergrad in Psychology, and followed with a Masters in Organisational Psychology. I’m not currently practising as a Psych, but I think understanding myself and people around me is valuable in any job! Psychology — although it sounds super specific — is actually a great ‘generalist’ degree. I learnt about how people work and how they are motivated, dabbled in statistics and math, wrote tens of thousands of words in fancy reports and managed year-long research projects. So i learnt about those enterprise skills without really knowing it — which are really important in the workplace.
Another awesome part of my study was doing practicum with businesses and organisations. This wasn’t compulsory until Masters level, but I would encourage anyone studying undergrad to do some practical work too. It’s amazing how it really cements all that theory.
How did you get started at FYA?
It’s all in who you know! A mate saw that FYA was looking for someone, and passed it on to me. I had to do a couple of interviews over phone and via Skype. How awkward are Skype interviews?! But I persevered and did my homework. I highlighted my alignment to the FYA values, dropped some knowledge on the programs and showed my enthusiasm!
I started with FYA in a remote position. I was working solo in Perth. It really taught me a lot of things around self discipline and motivation, as well as autonomy. FYA is a great place in that they trust you and really back you, so there were many occasions where due to the nature of being solo, I was given amazing out-of-comfort zone experiences. Now that I am in FYA HQ I don’t think I could go back. Love me some of the office banter just too much.
Favourite part of your job?
I really love that I am contributing to something more than just commercial success. I love working with young people and I suppose, in a way, helping to make a positive difference. My favourite part of the job is the strategic side of stuff — so thinking more bigger picture about where the program is heading and the impact that we can make on young people.
Least favourite part of your job?
I’m not naturally strong at admin-y organise-y stuff, so I would have to say that. Thankfully I’ve got a kick ass sidekick who has a natural superpower to keep things tickity boo. I like that we complement each other in our skills and natural talents.
Is your career going to plan?
I never really set a plan apart from wanting to work with young people and working in the not-for-profit sector. And I’m doing that now so I suppose it is going to plan! I’ve never been one to plan much, which I think is a bit silly cos if you’re kicking goals which goalposts are you hitting? (I’ve just been getting into football, so trialling using sports metaphors…) I think it’s time to start a plan. You should start one too. Let’s do it together. Go.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I’m still growing up but I see working with young people at the core. Either practising clinical psychology or continuing in community program development could be on the cards. I really just want to be a happy human when I grow up.
What is the single most valuable skill in your job?
I would say Project Management. You have to be looking forward, but always having your ear to the ground. It’s hard work, but it’s a thrill. I’m still working at it tbh. Project Management is something that can be applied in any role. I thought I was fairly OK at it, but in the last six months in my current role, I would say that it’s definitely a grower. I can’t wait to be a boss project manager. I’m seeing lots of post its, clipboards and maybe even a headset in the near future. Dream. Believe. Achieve.
What’s been your biggest career challenge?
Backing myself. I struggle with low self confidence, so it’s hard to be my own advocate and believe in what i’m pitching or asking for. I think it’s really held me back and something I’m working on now. I wish it was something simpler, but hey, we’re all human. I’ve been channelling the oh-so-used phrase ‘fake it til you make it’ recently. It’s been working.
Here are things that I have done to back myself a little more that might work for you too:
- Keep trying new things and putting yourself out of your comfort zone. Seeing good things come out of it truly makes rainbows.
- Reflect on what you’re good at but really think about what your signature strengths are or what makes you happy. Keep doing those things.
- Hear from other people — seek feedback from your manager or peers. Actually listen. Even write it down.
What’s one piece of advice you can offer to someone who wants a job like yours?
Get experience! Although I had a tonne of study behind me I think it was actually my volunteering that got me the job. Find an organisation that you connect with and really chip in.
What’s one piece of advice you have for someone who has no clue what they want to do?
Like those chocolate boxes, just keep sampling until you get the right flavour. But at least sample! I have so many m8s that are like ‘I have no idea what i want to do’ and do nothing. I put myself out there and worked those crappy jobs, and worked those places I hated, and from that I worked out what I liked. Get on it.
I feel like sometimes we put too much pressure or significance on an opportunity. Like everything is a real ‘aha moment’. Often you make decisions that aren’t right for you but you work out pretty quick if it doesn’t work. And you know what, that’s OK. Actually that’s awesome! The more you work out what you don’t like, the closer you’ll get to finding what you do like! I’m still on my sample journey!
Tell us something weird about you.
I’m completely ordinary. I’ve been delving deep into Reddit — the weirdness levels in that cyberspace are nek level. I love it. I live off other people’s extra-ordinariness.