From Au Pair to FedEx IT Professional: One Woman’s Journey Worth Celebrating
A few years ago, if someone told me that I would be working at FedEx, I would not have believed them. In fact, if someone told me that I would still be in Memphis, I would have doubted that too. When I came to the U.S. from Poland 10 years ago as an au pair, I did not know Memphis or plan to actually live here. It was supposed to be a one-year, fun journey, after which I was going to return to my country and continue studying the classics (Latin and Greek), and one day become that great tour guide in Italy. But there was something that kept me here after that first year. I had this sense of curiosity and fascination of being in a new country where absolutely everything was different. It was also an opportunity for me to become fully independent, and although I missed my family very much, I was not ready to let go of that opportunity. So I decided to stay here a little longer.
One of my ideas was to enroll in an American school and learn the educational system from the inside – and because I have always loved to read, I chose to become a paralegal. School gave me a lot of joy. During my first internship at one of the firms in town, I was offered a full-time position. Then I moved to another firm and went back to school to finish my undergraduate degree. Being a paralegal was fun and I enjoyed it, yet I always wanted to go back to school and get my master’s degree.
I have to admit, when I enrolled in MIS (Management Information Systems), I was not really sure if I would enjoy it. I was a little skeptical, given that my previous education and work experience did not have much to do with information technology and I had always thought of IT as a field mainly for men. However, I found the major extremely interesting. There are so many paths and so many areas one can choose. And I realized that IT is a great field for women and provides many opportunities to advance and excel. The Management Information Systems major teaches students both technical and managerial aspects of the business which is probably what I found the most fascinating. Lots of attention is focused on the behavioral and even psychological aspect of employees and the business as a whole.
During the summer of 2014, I was an intern at FedEx Services. It was an amazing 10 weeks that I will never forget. I still remember the very first day. It was early Monday morning and we were gathered for a breakfast in which we heard managers and vice presidents share their stories, work experience and thoughts of being a part of the FedEx family and what it means for them. One thing that stuck with me was everyone’s friendly attitude and what each of the speakers stressed to us – how serious the Work-Life balance is at FedEx and how great of a place it is. At the end of the internship I was convinced it was a great workplace and if I received a permanent position offer, I would eagerly accept.
The ten week internship went by pretty fast. I had a chance to not only visit many departments, but also meet many great people, participate in planned intern activities, and listen to great speakers. I learned so much from day one. I felt each and every day at work was valid and important. Even though I was here only for the summer, I was engaged in projects that would continue after my departure.
I recently completed graduate school with a MSBA in Management Information Systems in December 2014. I now work as an Associate Programmer Analyst at the Airline Technology department, the same department where I was interning and will continue working on the projects and applications I learned last summer.
The internship and my first month of work as a full-time employee have given me a lot of confidence and understanding. I now know that IT can be fun. Choosing a new educational path was a little scary and challenging, but today I can say that I made a great decision. I think it is about choosing the right area of IT that makes you feel comfortable and want to explore. Sometimes we have to make decisions that might seem a little intimidating, but taking that risk and pursuing our dreams can pay off. I can say to all the women out there to not be afraid and engage in information technology; it is a challenging but interesting field with lots of opportunities.