Growing With Family
“If I should cut my hair, let me know and I will.” That was one of three questions I had for Andrew Martin when I had my in-person interview at MCA Connect. That was the 20-year-old interviewing for his first “real” job. In fact, it was the only interview that I had because there was something real about my conversation with Andrew. When I asked what he didn’t like about the company, there was honesty. When I asked what he liked about MCA Connect, there was an excitement in his tone. “Honest, unapologetic consultants,” he said. But it’s more about relationships.
The Consulting Manager I had for the longest time at MCA was Blair Hatfield. It is this connection that will always remind me that I have a family at MCA Connect. He was my manager, but he was more like my older brother. Our meetings never felt like meetings, and he knew I hated the “formal check-in meeting.” We just had chats. It never felt forced. It was just like “talking to one of the boys.” I will always appreciate that, because I could be honest with him. I always felt treated like an equal, and never like a subordinate. He helped me develop the skills needed to be a successful Consultant: when to stand up for yourself, when to stand down and when to just appreciate an opportunity. While he is no longer my Consulting Manager, I know that if I reached out to him, he would still be there for me.
That brings me to the first project I led from a technical standpoint, and the first time I was on a project from the very beginning. This is an experience that I will appreciate forever. While I would not say I was thrown to the wolves, I was given an opportunity to succeed without being micromanaged. I had guidance and support, but there is always something to be learned. I learned quite a bit about myself and MCA, but most importantly about others. I realized that if I acknowledged my shortcomings and the things that I needed to work on, I would find growth. In three and a half years at MCA Connect I was promoted three times. At 25 years old, I was given the opportunity to be responsible for the technical implementation for an everchanging cloud platform. Does that sound scary or fun?
That’s why I feel at home here. It’s not just because I normally work from home, it’s what MCA has shown me. Whether it’s finding someone who you can relate to and call one of your closest friends, or someone you can talk to about anything. Everything. Someone who gave you the honor of being their best man at their wedding, or if it’s the project mom, cough, manager, that will kick some butt if she needs to, but will also ask how your dad is doing because she knows about him having Parkinson’s disease. The coworker that reminds you of that older sister that keeps it together for everyone else. The one that was diagnosed with cancer while pregnant and the one that showed you it is okay to be sad but staying strong is the only answer to overcome any obstacle. The coworker that honestly reminds you of your older brother. The one that is there to talk to about anything, any time of day. The one who will help show you that things happen to everyone, but it’s up to you to change the things you can and accept the things you can’t. We are all in it together. It’s all about perspective. Who knew you would learn about life at work?
Now back to what you all really wanted to know about. Why did you start this off on a comment about hair? When I started here, I had a “normal” haircut. Then around a year and a half into my position at MCA Connect, because I was mostly working from home, I decided to see how long my hair could grow. A year went by. Two years went by. Has it really been three years? Over that time, MCA Connect has given me the opportunity to explore numerous cities; from Seattle to Houston to Bar Harbor. Over that time, my hair started to get in the way. So, it came time to cross another item off the bucket list. I was able to donate over a foot of hair! This was something that I always wanted to do, but never could due to dress code in high school or trying to maintain a quasi-professional look in college.
MCA gave me these opportunities, because at the end of the day, the flexible culture makes us like family. We can be authentic here, and it’s not punished. Five years in, a little under one fifth of my life, and all I can say is that I can’t wait to see what the next five years has in store!