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Inspired BlogRoad to RV: Lessons from Year 1 (Part 4)

Hello again! RAM here. It’s finally time to wrap up everything I learned from my first year at Red Ventures. If you haven’t read my previous posts, you can check them out here: 

Part 1 (Road to Hire) | Part 2 (New York City) | Part 3 (Brazil)

In this series, I’ve shared some of the most meaningful experiences I’ve had as a Road to Hire graduate-turned-full-time-RVer. Say that three times fast. But with this last update, I want to reflect specifically on the three biggest lessons I’ve learned at Red Ventures – and the impact Road to Hire has had on my career. It’s my hope that future Road to Hire students can take away something to help them start their careers at Red Ventures (or anywhere) on the right foot. So, read it and weep y’all.

Professor Sánchez is in the building.

1) Culture is currency

In my first year here, I’ve discovered one truth: The people who are most successful at Red Ventures (and in their careers more generally) are the ones take full advantage of RV culture. You’ve heard the expression, “You have to spend money, to make money.” Well at Red Ventures, “You have to spend your time in the culture, to make something out of it.”

So how do you buy-in?

Create a quality network

The best way to get plugged in at Red Ventures is to meet the people who make our culture great. When you meet an interesting teammate, ask them for a sit-down. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn from a single conversation. After each 1:1 meeting, ask them to recommend 2-3 people to meet with next. Watch your network grow, and as you focus on quality conversations, you’ll be shocked how many interesting projects and roles exist across the whole Red Ventures landscape.

Join the party

After you build your network, it’s time to get involved. Luckily, at Red Ventures there’s no shortage of ways to plug in. Want to improve your presentation skills? Stop by our weekly Toastmasters International meet-ups. Interested in connecting with teammates who have similar hobbies, like movies and travel? You can find all kinds of groups via Slack – for example, the RV Movie Club or ‘Flight Deals’ group. Passionate about helping those in your community? Sign up to be a Golden Door Scholars mentor, or volunteer with our LifeSports program. 

Be visible

Show up for company-wide events like our Red Talks speaker series, Culture FEST, and monthly All-Employee Meetings led by RV leaders. Better yet, be at the front and center of the room. Trust me, people will notice. Being visibly engaged helps you build your reputation of being a team player and it will put you on other people’s radar. (If you work at an RV office outside of our Charlotte HQ, get a group of co-workers together to livestream the event!) 

POV: You’re front and center at a Red Talk, and everyone notices. (Check out some of our favorite talks here!)

2) Imposter Syndrome is real

Let’s be brutally honest. I started my career at RV as a data engineer. In this role, most of my peers had 4-year degrees and previous experience in tech. I had neither. 

A degree doesn’t define your success. However, it’s easy to lose sight of that when you’re on a team with people who know so much. All year, I’ve experienced this feeling. Other graduating members of my cohort have experienced this feeling. We all hated this feeling. But, here’s the thing, virtually everyone goes through it. In fact according to NBC News, over 70% of the US population has experienced imposter syndrome.

In my experience, though, Imposter Syndrome has less to do with my degree (or lack thereof) than the high expectations I set for myself. Coming in as junior talent, we want to prove ourselves. Consequently, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to excel immediately. That’s dangerous. If you constantly tell yourself you’ll never be good enough, you’ll start to believe it.

Here’s the good news: as junior talent, you’re not expected to be an expert. Your potential is what gets you in the door, not your years of experience. In fact, that “junior” title can be seen as an advantage – it gives you the opportunity to work on your craft by asking a lot of questions.

For example, “What do I do with my hands?!”

RV leaders have given me the same advice: As a junior, fail. Fail hard. Ask for forgiveness, not permission. Take calculated risks and give new ideas a shot. You’ll learn more by being curious than you will by waiting for direct instruction to come your way.

If you hate the feeling of being an imposter, use the feeling as a motivator. The quickest way to overcome your insecurities is to do something about them. Ask those “beginner” questions, be curious, and make adjustments in the wake of failure. 

3) Road to Hire has the power to change your life

To understand why Road to Hire is an amazing opportunity, it’s important to know why it was started.

Road to Hire was founded on the belief that hard work, determination, and humility is what will get you “there”. Participants of Road to Hire usually have no previous experience in the path they choose. What they do have is the internal drive to learn – to get better everyday. Many students start the program with few options for professional and personal growth. Upon graduation they become lead engineers, home owners, managers, culture carriers, activists, and so much more. All without a college degree.

It’s certainly not “easy.” Anyone who’s been through the program will tell you that the amount of effort you put into the program is what you will get back. But if you’re a highly motivated high school graduate (between the ages of 18-25), Road to Hire Academies may just change your life. It worked for these grads.

In closing…

This year has been a year full of learning new skills, overcoming roadblocks, and realizing just how much I can accomplish at Red Ventures. If you’re curious about Road to Hire Academies and how you can start your career in Software Engineering, Digital Marketing, IT Support, or Cyber Security; Check out the Road to Hire website. 

If you have any questions for me about the program or want to learn more about my first year at Red Ventures, message me on LinkedIn

Thank you all for reading!

I want to express gratitude to Chandler Martin, Maggie Figueroa, Emmanuel Foster, and Kacey Grantham for being mentors and teachers during my time with Road to Hire and long after I graduated from the program. Thanks to my teammates Nick Deyo, Nick Ellis, Adri Qi, Andrea Flynn, and Samantha Rosen at The Points Guy for welcoming me to their office and sharing their tips for writing a blog post. Muito obrigado to RV Brazil’s Marcia Denes, Rafael Redondo, Guilherme Ruy, Luiz Mai, and Caio Costa for setting me up at their office, teaching me about their country, and allowing me to shadow their day-to-day. And lastly, thank you to Shaan Dadlani, Jon Hester, and Christain Kramer who have become mentors and friends during my first year at Red Ventures. Thanks for challenging me to get better every day, your career advice, and the listening ears.

About the Author:
RAM Sánchez

RAM Sánchez is a Charlotte, NC native and an Associate at Red Ventures. RAM has lived in places like New York and Argentina, but moved back to Charlotte in 2018 to join the Red Ventures team. Since starting at Red Ventures he has developed a background in data. Outside of work you can find RAM singing along to Beyoncé or finding the best food spots in Charlotte.

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