When I took my dream job back in 2016, the thing that made it a dream job, was the notion that it would pay me a dividend down the line in the form of experience, knowledge, business acumen and network. It turned out to be more like the lottery rather than a dividend. But, it was always just a stepping stone and a figurative "right of passage" for me.
Since selling lemonade to neighbors outside of my childhood home at 6 years old, or waking up before sunrise after a snowstorm at 10 years old, to go door to door offering to shovel at pennies on the dollar, I have always been an entrepreneur. I have always had a "job" and a side hustle. However, I never really looked at my job, as a job. If I happened to accept a job I really didnt like, I got a different job, immediately. Working was always too important to me except, not for the expected reasons, but because the long view was always in my head. I always looked at my job as "school". I never subscribed to the idea that school was my job. I didnt like real school, but I loved to learn. The job was the place where I received the formal and practical education from other respected peer professionals with vast collective experience, access to brands and the brilliance that develops within, and the side hustle is where I got to execute my learnings and adapt to my product or service. I always knew that one day I would set myself free. I come from a long lineage of entrepreneurs. It's quite literally in my DNA. The time is now for my career to begin.
When I say that I have absolutely maximized my job experiences throughout my life, I cannot emphasize it enough. I have absorbed every minute of all of them since I got my first real job at 14 as a caddy at a local country club. That first job, rubbing elbows with the business men and business women of the Long Island North Shore elite, gave me a very important life and professional lesson I have always lived by; "first impressions only count, if the last impression, impresses." A lesson I learned the hard way after being stiffed for a tip, starting the round of 18 holes strong and charasmatic but ending weak and defeated. My time to practice that wisdom, is now. This is how you say goodbye to your dream job, and hello to your dream career while preserving your reputation as you gracefully exit to pursue what comes next.
To my BrightEdge Family, from around the Globe and especially my Global Team,
Sorry for the long winded email, but gratitude is hard to consolidate.
Today, as I close my laptop as a BrightEdge team member for the last time, I have to reflect in a way that most are not able to on their job. If we have met along the way, in a big way, or in a small way, this is a love letter to you and a glimpse of my appreciation and gratitude for BrightEdge.
If you have heard me talk about BrightEdge, I bleed blue. I have EVERY T-Shirt from the last 5 years and 11 months and wear the BrightEdge logo as a badge of honor. BrightEdge is as much a part of me and my story as my hobbies, my family, and my dreams, and has been a constant for me through what feels like a lifetime. I came as a wide eyed CSM with little to no knowledge of Search Marketing and I leave as a trusted advisor to some of the most recognizable brands on the planet and a thought leader in the Search Marketing industry. I am testament to hard work, paying off.
I came to BrightEdge at an interesting time in my life. Recently divorced and coming away from a FinTech startup as employee number 7. I was there for 7+ years. When I started at 21 years old, they gave me the opportunity to ignite that CX team from me, to 10. I had little guidance, no clue about CS best practice and operated on a single true north. Customer Success. At the time, it was nothing more than a term that I had heard thrown around in a YouTube interview randomly in 2013. Who knew it was a real thing haha.
In 2015, I was poached by a former BE Enterprise CS leader. She literally hunted me. Eventually, after about 4 months of her trying, daily, at the gym, at my peak vulnerability and complete exhaustion, I submitted to this business that she was so passionate about. Very strategic of her, and I am forever grateful. She clearly knew what she was doing and while we held the same title on LinkedIn, I felt I had to take a step back, to take a step forward. I was humble and motivated to learn from a leader. However, I am not above self sabotage.
During my first month, I decided that I would risk this brand new job and take the entire second month off from BrightEdge Employment, so I could go climb Mt. Elbrus in Russia, one of the 7 summits (I have 2 down, 5 to go). Not only was BrightEdge cool about it, they paid me for the time I took off. A weird time in my life, indeed. When I really got started at BrightEdge, I was given a peer mentor. I would later be the officiant at his wedding and to this day, he is a brother of mine. I have had the pleasure of working within 2 BU’s at BrightEdge with 4 declared roles over almost 6 full years. Personally, BrightEdge has enabled the greatest milestones of my life. My home, my wife, my son, my puppy, the top performing customer POD fondly referred to as PODzilla, 3 odysseys around the world, 13 different countries (mostly for work) from France and Germany to India to Canada, to Colombia and more, 164 flights over nearly 6 years (I actually kept a tally), too many hotel room nights over too many hotel brands to calculate. Countless executive board rooms, and a network of brands and the professional marketers that operate them, of whom, I can now call my peers, friends, and colleagues.
If I may, for those that are new, give BrightEdge your all. BrightEdge will give you dividends in experience. Do the role you want, then ask for the title change. Demonstrate GRIT! Be your own advocate. Take risks, fail fast and find the motivation in the idea of Customer Excellence. The true north.
For the veterans, you are proven world class. Keep that flame alive and well. I will be watching and I'll never be too far away.
To say that I am grateful would simply not encompass my debt of appreciation sufficiently.
See you around the bend and thank YOU for giving ME, YOUR all.
BE exceptional. Happy and VERY healthy 2022! Forward to the Extraordinary!
Justin Abrams [email protected] LinkedIn