For many people (including myself), finding a job this summer was a challenge. Looking back, my classmates and I asked so many questions: Will I find an internship? Will it be paid? Will I have to move? Will they hire me after graduation? You know ... those little details.
When I'm faced with uncertainty, I find myself asking tons of questions like those, and the night before starting my legal internship at SoftLayer, the "new question" machine went into overdrive. How early should I leave to get there on time? What projects will I have? How many hours will I work? Will I make a good impression?
Over the years, I notice that I tend to focus on that last question — "What impression will I make?" Time and time again, I've found myself answering that question by finding the perfect outfit.
What seems like ages ago (but was actually only four years ago), I began pursuing a career in fashion, so while the question, "What should I wear?" might be natural, when looking at any new job, it's probably not the right question to be asking for this one. I'm not exactly required to strut down Fifth Avenue in designer shoes to enter the office of a luxury department store (which I did one summer) ... I'm driving up to the SoftLayer headquarters in Dallas, Texas, where you're more likely to see black T-shirts than suits and ties.
Feeling unsure about whether I can "WOW" some of the brightest people in Dallas in an industry where I am a rookie, I am pretty nervous, and I'm sure everyone has been in my shoes. Some of us ask too many questions, others ask too few, and some, like me, ask the wrong ones. My advice is to focus on one simple question: "Do we fit?" To unpack those three little words a little more, "Will this company value me as much as I value it, and will I enjoy being employed here as much as they enjoy employing me? Will our relationship be mutually beneficial?"
In today's job market, some people can't afford to ask these questions, especially considering the fact that "the right fit" tends to be the toughest aspect to quantify. Hiring and accepting an offer necessarily involves some risk, and the best choice might be decided by a gut feeling. After my first week at SoftLayer, I'm happy to say that I'm sure I made the right choice.
Walking through the office, the atmosphere is laid-back, but don't be fooled. As relaxed and friendly as my coworkers are, they are also working hard, pouring themselves into the work they do. Coming from a business and a legal background, I thought this type of environment was only something I could read about in an article covering a cool new startup in BusinessWeek or the New York Times. Luckily I was wrong.
A company that values an employee's autonomy is hard to find, and it takes the right employees to not abuse that privilege. From my one week of experience here, it's clear SoftLayer has made it work, somehow finding the elusive combination of work, play, and success. That difficult important question is easy to answer: Yes, we fit ... just as perfectly as a Christian Louboutin.