This post is the fourth in a series of Q&A sessions with friends, former colleagues, aquainternces and other contacts who I consider both influential and inspirational. Each of these individuals possesses a skillet that I believe you will find valuable. They have each made an impact throughout my career path and I wanted to feature them in this series.
Name: Kristin Seed (@KristinSeed)
Profession: Professional Services Consultant for Determine Inc.
Degree: Dual bachelor’s degrees in accounting and computer management
Kristin Seed is my oldest sister. She has always been a source of inspiration for me and also an invaluable resource for me in many different areas. After entering the workforce in the late 90s for State Farm, she got married and was a “career mom” until 2012.
With her kids in junior high and high school, she entered the business world once again and has shared with me her experiences. I hope you enjoy the following tidbits and advice from Kristin Seed.
1) How does your current profession align with the degree you graduated with?
My current profession is very closely aligned with my degrees. I earned dual bachelor’s degrees in accounting and computer management from Eastern Illinois University. I’m currently working for a software company that sells purchasing software that integrates with a company’s financial system.
If you have held other jobs, how closely have they been aligned?
Nearly all of my positions have been closely aligned with my degrees. Directly out of college, I was a mainframe computer programmer. However, I didn’t program on accounting systems. My first professional transition was to move to programming accounting software on the PeopleSoft Financials platform. My two latest positions are both in technology, but are now in the property tax and procurement industries.
2) What did you ‘plan to do’ after college and how close is that to what you’re doing at this point in your career?
I began at State Farm as a computer programmer. My career is still very similar in that it is working with software; however, there have been so many advances in technology and computer languages that my skill set now is more broad and less deep. And, I have expanded my role to be more of a business consultant – who helps the client understand how the software will integrate with their processes in their offices.
Were there any deviations along the way and did they help/hurt your path to your current job?
Well, I stayed home to raise kids for 12 years. That was quite the deviation! It hurt my career path because technology advanced significantly and there was quite a bit of re-training to do upon re-entry to work. Also, because of the gap in work, I’m still working at a much more tactical role rather than strategic. I’m still a team member rather than leading the team. That’s my next career step.
3) What’s your best piece of advice for today’s entry-level candidates?
Learn constantly. Watch TED talks. Join MeetUp groups. Follow tech start-ups on social media. Don’t surround yourself with those who think like you – seek out and follow those who introduce you to new ideas and concepts.
4) What do like the most about your profession?
I love the one-on-one work the customer. With software implementation, I normally have 3-5 customers who I’m working closely with through decision making, testing and early support. It’s interesting to see the similarities and differences across their industries. It’s interesting to see how different team members approach project management and problem solving.
5) What is the biggest challenge you face in your profession?
I work fast. I ask lots of questions. I want to talk about the ‘elephant in the room’ first thing. This direct, fast-paced approach is not comfortable for everyone.
6) How has your industry changed during your time as a professional?
Huge move to cloud software – SAAS (Software as a Service) rather than companies having their own version of software loaded on to their own servers. Individuals having 24/7 access to their employer email and work makes for global corroboration as well as the expectation of constant working hours. It’s both great and terrible.
7) Why do people leave your field or company?
I don’t think people leave the field. They either decide they only like to code and they don’t like to work with the customer – so they specialize. Or they like working with the customer so move into support, training, testing, etc. Those who like the interaction of software and business move towards consulting.
Do you agree with why they leave?
I think it makes sense
8) Are you considering leaving your current field or company?
I just switched jobs about 8 weeks ago! I’ve found that I get bored about the end of year 2 and then move on to something new during the 3rd year. While networking to move jobs this time, I had a few people tell me that in this field they expect a 2 year commitment from an employee to be what they should expect.
9) What is your favorite social media platform?
I prefer Twitter for business, FaceBook for personal, and don’t really like Instagram, SnapChat, etc.
10) What was the last book you read?
I’m reading the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. I want to understand how to work really hard, for a really short period of time.
The last TED talk or other e-learning content you consumed?
I’m taking an online MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) about mental health.
I’ve been watching TED talks about building strong teams at work. Right now I like Simon Sinek talks.
11) Where do you receive your news and information?
A. Print Newspaper – never
B. Online Newspaper – rarely
C. Television – once or twice a week I’ll watch morning show or evening news
D. Twitter – local business news
E. Facebook – family and friends updates
F. Other – researching things I’ve heard others talking about or follow up online with a newsource about a particular topic
12) What are your hobbies?
I like following the local food and craft beer scene and being current on what is going on in Indianpolis and now Carmel, the suburb we’ve moved to. I hear my new gym has pickle ball on Saturdays – so ask again in a few weeks! 🙂
Do you wish you had more time to pick up a hobby?
Yes – focus has been on work and kids’ activities. Used to do things like scrapbook and go to book club. Looking for new ideas.