My Beginnings at Recollective

One of our Customer Support Specialists, Tiana Nguyen, talks about her experience as a new grad, and her #LifeatRecollective so far.

My name is Tiana and I have been a Customer Support Specialist at Recollective since June 2021. In my role, I provide online support to our customers across the globe ranging from independent researchers to multi-market research agencies. In most cases, I offer platform knowledge and guidance to ensure the platform is used most effectively by researchers to achieve their goals, and I troubleshoot potential technical issues on customer sites.

When I first came across Recollective, I was at a very stressful point in my life. The COVID-19 lockdowns in my province caused me to lose my job; my senior-aged mother was still waiting to be vaccinated and she could not work. To top it all off, I had student loans looming in the distance.

The financial strain was worrisome and as someone fresh out of university, I had steep competition in the job market. Recent graduates like me will know the struggle of finding employment in general, let alone during a pandemic when unemployment rates have doubled. It seemed like every entry-level job required at least a year of relevant work experience, which sounds a little oxymoronic if you think about it!

I prepared myself as best as I could for the interviews, but I was still jittery with nerves. How was I supposed to compete against people with years of qualifying work experience? Nonetheless, I went in with the intention of learning more about the software and the research industry. I told myself, "Even if I don't make it in, I can at least use this as a learning experience."

From the very first interview onwards, I was pleasantly surprised at how casual and welcoming my interviewers were. What struck me the most was their focus on personal growth within the company. It was refreshing to see a business that actually concerned itself with future career development. I really appreciated being treated like a person and not some expendable resource. Rather than feeling nervous and doubtful of myself after the interviews, I left each one feeling confident and empowered.

Of course, actually starting the job was another challenge entirely. I might have made a good impression, but now I had to deliver against their expectations.

"New job anxiety" is probably a very familiar term for many people and for me, it was cranked up to 110%. Sure, I had customer service experience, but I was never employed by a tech company with a global reach before. Even the idea of having health and dental benefits and a pension plan was foreign to me. Imposter syndrome was the little cartoon devil on my shoulder, constantly whispering in my ear that I was probably too unqualified to be here.

Over time, I didn’t feel so outcast anymore. I quickly developed a camaraderie with my colleagues that didn't just make my job bearable but genuinely enjoyable. I found myself looking forward to going to work and talking to the people on my team. I still do now! Having that supportive network of friends at my workplace really helped dissipate a lot of the fears I had in the beginning about not fitting in.

My team even went beyond that by looking out for my personal wellbeing by calling me out at times when I was pushing myself too hard. I'm thankful for that because I would have been well on my way to burning myself out had I continued to overwork myself.

Nevertheless, my first three months of training were still hard work. I had to learn everything about the platform, from how to use it to troubleshooting issues that arose. The latter was easier said than done, as it required a combination of objectivity, problem-solving skills, and acute attention to detail. Usually, there were multiple solutions to a problem, so I needed to be open-minded yet pragmatic. In my opinion, it was a rough start and there were definitely more than a few mistakes throughout. But no one ever criticized or reprimanded me: I was only offered guidance and encouragement to improve. At the end of the day, it was all about practice, practice, practice.

Certainly, there were days when the training process felt long and even a little tedious. Little did I know, however, that the repetitiveness and fastidious feedback built a strong foundation of knowledge that persisted long after my training. Now that my training is almost done, I'm having a great time facing new and interesting challenges every day in Helpdesk. There are also plenty of opportunities to learn new skills and take on side projects outside of customer support, so I always feel like I can contribute something and I’m never left feeling bored. I really enjoy writing for our company blog and resource development in particular.

I can undoubtedly say that my time here at Recollective has sparked a more positive outlook on my career. Being allowed to grow with the company makes me feel like I'm a part of something bigger. Paired with the strong bonds I've cultivated within my team, I feel motivated to improve myself and give my best every day. My self-confidence has grown considerably since I first started in my position and I have some amazing colleagues to thank for that.I can’t begin to describe how thankful I am that Recollective gave me a chance to demonstrate what I was capable of. I’m looking forward to carrying forward the support and kindness I've received to maintain this incredible work environment for all the current and new employees to come!If what I've said about Recollective or my role appeals to you, we are currently looking to expand our team! Check out our Careers page for all our job listings, and if there's nothing in your wheelhouse but you share our values and culture, please reach out—we're always looking for like-minded people.

"Imagine my surprise again when people across all different teams and departments reached out to get to know me, check in with me and offer their advice and guidance. I soon discovered that there were employees from all walks of life at Recollective, with different educational backgrounds and work experience."

Tiana Nguyen
Customer Support Specialist

Let's research happy together