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Advice / Career Paths / Exploring Careers

I Turned a Temp Job Into a Full-time Role at a Growing Startup

When I met Javay Tucker, a customer service coordinator at S’well, the designer water bottle company, I immediately developed a deep appreciation for her role.

In spite of dealing with challenges throughout the workweek (think: listening to people complain), Tucker explains that the positive feedback her team receives “is always a breath of fresh air, and reminds me why I’m doing it.”

Even though she wasn’t planning on a career in the customer service field, she’s enjoying it and is especially content working at the fast-paced startup.

Read on to see how Tucker landed her role at S’well and where she sees herself in the future.

Can You Take Me Through Your Career Beginnings to Where You Are Now?

Technically, I view S’well as the beginning of my career. I’ll start with college though. My freshman year I attended The University of Southern Mississippi to study fashion merchandising. After a year, I knew I needed to transfer to a school that was a bit more well-versed in fashion studies. That’s when I decided to transfer to Savannah College of Art and Design, starting back over as a freshman. Woo!

During my time there, I worked in retail and stumbled upon work with a wholesale company, while working there, I traveled as an exhibitor (well, when I wasn’t studying or in class).

After graduating in 2015 I worked for six months as a fashion apparel and marketing intern, before moving to New York City.

What Made You Move to NYC?

I went there on a trip with the apparel company I was working with. I’d never been and never thought I’d move there. If anything, I figured I’d go to the west coast and soak up the sun. To my surprise, New York was everything to me. I felt like it was a city you could get lost in, and the opportunities were endless. 

So, in April of 2016, I moved here on a whim. 

What Happened Next? Did You Find a Job Right Away?

I did a lot of temp work, and that’s how I started out at S’well—in a temp role on the customer service team. I helped wherever I was needed—responding to customer feedback, answering their emails and phone calls, creating invoices, and assisting with getting orders from the warehouse customized and then into the customers hands.

After two months of working as a temp, the customer experience role opened, and my manager referred me for the job. Even though I wasn’t convinced that I wanted to work in this area forever, I loved the company and knew I had to take the job.

What’s Your Favorite Part of Being a Customer Service Coordinator?

I truly love helping people and seeing customers happy. I’ve worked a few retail jobs in my past, and, like now, it’s most rewarding when I know I’ve done everything in my power to provide a great experience. You can’t have a successful business without customers, and I value having such an integral role in their satisfaction. 

I also really like that I get to do some social media stuff: About three times a day I check our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter page, and answer customers’ questions or comments. It’s fun for me because people say the craziest things—they get really creative, which allows me to be creative with my responses, whether I’m answering to a complaint or compliment.

Oh, and we also get fan mail from students! It’s always fun reading the letters they write and crafting a response. If the letters are impressive, I’ll send them a S’well on us. 

Do You Have an Answer to “Where Do You See Yourself in Five or 10 Years?”

I am still figuring out exactly what I want to do. In 10 years I hope to be doing something I love—whatever that is! I will say that I definitely believe what I’m doing and learning now will help me in the future, even if I veer away from customer service or social media work.

Ultimately, I see myself somewhere in marketing or branding. That field requires knowing who your customers are and what they want, so I’m grateful to be getting a first-hand understanding of that.

What Career Advice (If Any—I Know You’re Still Pretty Early on in Your Journey) Do You Have for Others?

Everything is a learning experience, even if it’s not exactly what you want to do. Patience is key. I know that’s easier said than done though!

Want to turn your temp job into a permanent one? Muse Career Coach Rajiv Nathan shares his best advice on making it happen. Interested in a job in customer service now? Check out a few quick facts below.

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