I am so thrilled to be at Fuzzy Math and be apart of the “growing fun,” as opposed to the “growing pain.” ;-) On a serious note, it’s been a long time coming. As far back as grad school in 2010, I remember hearing about FM as the “cool UX place run by DePaul alum.” Fuzzy Math has always been on my radar, and as the years went on I became more and more interested in the “secret sauce” brewing at FM.
Prior to joining the company, I had a couple jobs, but my passion for UX began somewhere toward the end of undergraduate school. I’ve always loved graphic design and while in school, I knew a few people studying human factors and just decided that this had to be applied somewhere digitally. Eventually, one way or another, I discovered user experience design. I knew I needed another degree to get into the field and really liked DePaul’s program. Once I was accepted, I left my hometown in Pittsburgh, PA and headed out to Chicago.
While at DePaul I interned with GiveForward, which has since blossomed into an amazing company run by the same great people who taught me the basics of fundraising and guerrilla marketing tactics. Many, many guerrilla marketing tactics, that obviously worked well lol. Later I moved onto intern/contract at WhittmanHart which later rebranded as Band Digital and eventually closed it’s doors a couple years ago. I learned so much about the pace of an agency at Whittman and in addition, I met a couple life long friends after spending holidays and late hours working together. It was great early exposure into the Chicago agency life. When I graduated from grad school, I realized my bar-tending job, tennis teaching and internships were not making life in Chicago a possibility. I started looking elsewhere and stumbled upon Pharmacy OneSource in Madison, Wisconsin. It was a 100 person start-up, building pharmaceutical software. I was sold. The beginning months were a learning period and tough for me, but I had really great leadership to guide me through the stressful moments. About 4 months in, Pharmacy OneSource was bought by Wolter’s Kluwer. My boss’ daily Hawaiian shirts weren’t going to cut it anymore. In reality, the situation was really exciting. The idea written on a napkin 10 years prior was being purchased and implemented by a multibillion dollar company. Unfortunately for some, and fortunately for many, the crazy start-upy days were over. Although I loved Madison and Pharmacy OneSource, I was still looking for an adventure. It took me quite a long time, but I found it: ThoughtWorks. I joined the company and within weeks I was off to my first client engagement located in Boston Mass. During my time with Thoughtworks, I traveled around the world and back. I learned life skills and professional skills from the most interesting people I could ever imagine. Through all of this exposure, 1 thing was missing: home. I’m not from Chicago, but I’ve made some great friends that I’d almost consider family. Their life went on in Chicago, and my life went on in many other cities. I was growing far apart from comfort and security. The grass is always greener, but I was ready to be on the other side of the fence. It took me a long time to figure things out, because I couldn’t think of any place that would fulfill my list of needs. I had a few concerns about a new job and the things I absolutely needed:
1. Work with great people. A must.
2. Do cool things, enjoy work and deliver something I’m proud of.
3. Be in Chicago, stay in Chicago.
I brainstormed for awhile and then had an epiphany. Cut to, Fuzzy Math. Mark and I had stayed in touch over the years, and I immediately went to him to discuss my thoughts. Together we agreed, timing was right. That brings me to, now! I’m about three weeks in and really enjoying my days. I’m taking my time getting familiar with everything, as to not mess too much with the “secret sauce.” I want to write about a few of my highlights so far.
1. I’m working with a really cool client that has a problem that needs solving and it’s been a lot of fun.
2. The dry sense of humor that resonates in this office has kept me laughing since the beginning.
3. I have a desk! And, it’s a really nice desk!
4. Spark kids came into work yesterday and they are adorable.
5. I was winning in my bracket until Nick, Christa, Jared, Mark and Jennifer beat me.
6. Our office is in a great location. The mix between the natural light and calming environment almost makes me forget that it’s March 26 and 26 degrees outside.
7. Everyone is down to earth, great listeners and open to new ideas. It’s really exciting.
While the portion above, about my history, is much longer than the portion about FM, I’m only three weeks in. I can safely say, it will only take a couple more weeks until my list of highlights, spans many pages.
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