Carolyn Watcke, shares her road to Digital Surgeons, her college to career path, and how she leveled up during her time with us.
I will never forget the day in high school when I was told that my dream college was a “reach school” for me. That I “shouldn’t even hold my breath”. So what did I do? I spent every minute I could in the career center making sure that my application was flawless. I wanted to prove to myself that I was above the status quo I had somehow created for myself throughout my first 3 years of high school. A few months later, I received my acceptance letter and I cried. I had been accepted, Early Decision, to my dream school in Vermont. It was in that (very gratifying) moment, that I knew I needed to make the most of the 4 years to follow.
Champlain College was a small school nestled in the hills of Burlington, Vermont where I spent four years focused on earning my Bachelors Degree in Public Relations (and a Certificate in Event Management & Tourism). I have always been a people person with a slightly creative/quirky side, which allowed for marketing and events to be a very natural path for me. By the time I graduated in 2012, I had been able to experience unique aspects of my major throughout numerous internships including: Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, WellWed Magazine and Best Buddies. Making sure that I kept busy, I worked 2 part time jobs, volunteered every Friday night, had a Work Study job on campus and was a student event planner. I thought that Los Angeles was in my future after graduation but to my own surprise, I stayed in Vermont another four years to try and really define where I belonged in the work world.
Little did I know about the ups and downs that were to follow. I had been offered a position as an Outreach Coordinator at a small company before graduation, which didn’t work out as planned. Then I gave the Car Rental business a whirl and that was definitely not for me. I tried a position at the local newspaper as the only member of the marketing department, which unfortunately lead to a layoff. I learned very quickly that I was becoming the definition of a Millennial Job Hopper…not something that I had ever wanted or expected. I finally found myself at home with a Credit Union that I had tellered at through college. I became the coordinator of coordinators for their marketing department and learned more than I could possibly say in my time there. Fast forward 2 years, a change in life events brought me back to my hometown of Cheshire, Connecticut where I was finally able to take the next real step for myself in marketing.
I continued on my career path and thought I had found my dream job here in CT. As the months went by, I started to get a feeling in the back of my mind that I was still not where I needed to be. I had found somewhere that allowed me to be myself but there was still something missing. I loved marketing more than anything but I was finding myself really falling in love with the details of every task. Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to make much of a decision, as I was again laid off (surprise, surprise). I quickly took on a contracted position with a very large enterprise (a hope I always had). Finally, I thought, “This is IT! I’ve been dreaming of this for years. A huge company that can offer me so much more!” When in fact, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I experienced what it feels like to just be a number. Learning about hierarchy and the circle of nothing that is ever accomplished because there are just too many people involved. It only took a few weeks for me to really feel the pains of this new job. Which is exactly what it was – just a job. I was still on the prowl for a place I could call a home.
So here I am today living it up in the tech world at Digital Surgeons as a Production and Account Coordinator, and I swear there is a reason that I went into such detail on my past. This 10 year saga has made me who I am today. As much as I love being hands-on in marketing, I love the details that go into making sure that all of the moving pieces are working seamlessly together. In the past, I have done graphic design, website maintenance, keyword campaigns, agency relationship management, trade show coordination, media buys, radio & tv script writing. You name it, I’ve done it. Now I get to be the person in the background helping the people who actually create this amazing work.
Over the past few years I realized that the corporate life was not for me. I have always been one to follow the rules but my personality has always pushed the boundaries. I needed somewhere that would allow me to be myself while also pushing me out of my comfort zone. I dreamt of working somewhere that would allow me to be surrounded by brilliant minds, kind and caring people and feel supported to just be myself and grow. Now here I am living the dream, 90 days in and still loving every minute of it.
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