Interested in moving to Vegas? On the fence? In this new series called In Our Neck of the Woods, we talk to different Zapponians about what they love about living and working right here in Las Vegas.
For our inaugural episode, Norbinn talks about what he and his family enjoy doing in and around the Vegas valley.
Zappos Blogs: Zappos Family
Interested in moving to Vegas? On the fence? In this new series called In Our Neck of the Woods, we talk to different Zapponians about what they love about living and working right here in Las Vegas.
What do you think of when you hear the word change? No, I’m not referring to the straggling coins that we carry around in our pocket. But change—as in a sudden shift in habit, mood, or season. We inevitably experience change on a daily basis. We cry upon discovery of that first grey hair. We endure our favorite TV series ending after a number of seasons. We learn to accept that overalls may never make a comeback. We grieve when we lose a loved one. We get anxious when we have to step out of our daily routine. We rejoice in seeing close friends get married. The list goes on and on. Artists have written a number of top hit songs about change because we experience it on so many levels.
The concept of change is a hot topic here at Zappos as it is our second core value. Not only do we embrace change, but we want to drive it. This is a foreign concept to most people. Some people clam up at the thought of change because it means taking risks and stepping outside of our comfort zone. Some people chase after it, seeking the thrill that comes with the adventure. But if there is one thing that we have in common, it is that we all fear it on some level. It's like closing our eyes and walking down a path with an unknown destination. We do, however, have the opportunity to take a proactive approach and tackle it head first.
Here at Zappos, we are constantly re-evaluating the way we do things. Why change things when they are good, you ask? Sure we could keep doing the things that are working. But as our company grows, our routine way of approaching things needs to shift as well. We look at the gap between what is and what could be and find a way to bridge that gap. Yes, sometimes it is a little scary trying something new, but it’s all about taking that leap of faith.
Over the past few years, our company has taken leaps and bounds to enhance our customers’ experience, rethink the way we self-organize, and foster the entrepreneurial community here in downtown Las Vegas. Individual teams have pushed themselves to think outside of the box and have grown so much in the process.
Change is not perfect by any means. There are plenty of times when things do not work out the way a team might hope. But there are other times when having a positive mindset around change has lead to innovation. With this innovation has come great success. It is this success that continues to inspire our employees and other collaborative groups to throw a kinder eye to change.
So there are two choices we can make: We can embrace change or we can suffer through it. Instead of fearing it, let us learn to welcome it. We must desire change, knowing that good can come from it. This is not limited to the work world. Life is filled with trials and many seasons of change. They are sometimes hard to digest in the very moment, but they can often lead to incredible lessons.
We must see change as the beginning of an exciting new chapter and have faith in the adventure that follows. It doesn’t matter if you are an individual going through the roller coaster of life, a small business trying to get the ball rolling, or a big company who is already rocking and rolling.
What choice will YOU make next time you encounter change?
I guess you could call me somewhat of a rarity here in Las Vegas. My Grandparents moved here in the early 1950s and soon after, they had my dad. Add about 30 years to that story when my dad met my mom and – ta da – I came into this world. Being a Vegas native, let alone a second generation Vegas native, is pretty rare here. Most residents are Vegas transplants, but we natives do exist, as uncommon as we may be.
Why all this history about me you ask? Well, being born and raised here in Las Vegas, one of the most common questions I get is, “Do you ever plan on leaving?” Great question! Let’s talk about it. I have friends who are from all over the world and have lived in many different places. Sometimes I think about what it would be like to start new somewhere else and as exciting and great as it sounds, I always come back to the realization that I love Las Vegas. It’s my home.
Just call me Oprah as here are some of my favorite things (in no specific order) – The bearable winters, hot summers, Lake Mead, Mt. Charleston, Red Rock, downtown, great restaurants (I’m a huge foodie), Vegas shows, great shopping, 24-hour everything, being only a few hours away from the beach and Zion National Park. But the one thing I definitely cannot leave off of this list is Zappos.
Zappos moved to Nevada in 2004, and it’s still crazy to me that it took me, a Vegas native, eight years to find them. I often ask myself, “What took you so long?” Either way, I found Zappos and I love it.
I first started within CLT (Customer Loyalty Team) where I wowed our customers who called in. I had never experienced a better job before this. My background was in HOA management so Zappos was like Disneyland to me. Almost a year into Zappos I knew I wanted to be in recruiting, and just my luck, there was an opening!
Five interviews later, I found out I didn’t get the job. Super sad, I know. I was bummed but I was determined. Core value #9 – Be Passionate & Determined, is my favorite core value. I took the feedback I received to heart and I did all that I could to make sure the next time would be the right time. In January of this year another position opened up and I couldn’t have been more excited, but scared all the same time. After a couple more interviews, I had my feedback session where I was told I didn’t get the position again, just to be surprised by the whole team in the hallway to tell me I did. Yes! Now I am here, writing this blog.
One of the many things that Zappos has done to make my list of favorite things is that this company never stops surprising me. Big surprises, little surprises, all kinds of surprises. The biggest reason I love Zappos is because they let me be me, the real me. I have never felt more comfortable in my own skin than I have since day one here.
When you live in a world with so much judgment, it’s refreshing to spend 40 hours a week with none of those shenanigans. I’m a 26-year old-guy with gel nails and I love it. My team loves it. My Zappos family loves it. Core Value # 3 – Create Fun and a Little Weirdness – one of my daily mantras. Next week will be my two-year anniversary and here’s to hoping for many more!
The story on how I got to Zappos isn’t really the special part. That’s filled with the normal things you’d find in a life. You know, job after job, college, boyfriends and the like. I could tell you about how I’ve made my journey through Zappos. That’s pretty important to me, but the actual path becomes repetitive after a while. I started in the call center, and had my eye set on my passion. I applied for recruiting and was lucky enough to be accepted. From there, I’ve only grown into a career that I absolutely adore, and that’s being a part of the college recruiting team. That story can be found on the lips of many Zapponians (though it might be different departments).
The special part, however, is what Zappos has done for me on a personal level. Before I came to Zappos, I was a little on the negative side. I had my trials and tribulations through life, as most do, and it left me jaded. I would get angry at things that I couldn’t have control over, and that was usually accompanied by cursing. That doesn’t mean I was a “debbie downer” all the time or wasn’t a good person in general, but I knew I could have a more positive outlook on things. I wanted to be better, but I didn’t know how.
Enter Zappos. Zappos became the first place that felt like home to me in Vegas. I was actually born in Vegas (not raised) and have family here, but it never felt right to be here. Zappos was the first place I came across where I felt like I belonged. I remember walking into my very first day of New Hire Training, and it was like walking into a brand new life. It definitely had the feel of walking into your very first college class freshman year, where everyone kept their heads down and were equally shy, but it felt refreshing.
I met people I could relate to. After all, we all share the same values. In all seriousness though, I am a product of my environment. Those around me affect me. I am a person that needs positive vibes to be able to give off positive vibes. That’s what Zappos did for me.
I have an environment that is conducive to me becoming a better person. I have another family, and that’s my team. These are people I can rely on for anything, inside or outside of work. If I’m having a bad day, I come to work and I feel better within the hour. They are my coworkers, friends, confidants, and they make me want to be a better person. Although, I do still have some troubles with cursing!
Zappos truly brings out the best in me, thanks to the amazing people who make this place the culture haven that it is. When you look at studies on healthy relationships, they say this should definitely be an outcome. Like every relationship, there are ups and downs, good days and bad, but the true test is how you come out in the end.
I don’t ever want to quit being a better person. So I thank you, Zappos, for being an amazing partner, and pushing me to be the very best version of me.
Once upon a time, in a faraway land called South Carolina, a college senior was researching potential summer internship opportunities. She searched and searched and nothing seemed to catch her eye or offer exactly what she was looking for. She was about to give up all hope of finding that perfect internship. That was until she stumbled upon the Zappos Family Interns website while shopping for shoes. At that moment everything seemed to click. An awesome company culture, jobs that make you want to get out of bed each morning, and the opportunity to get involved in the Las Vegas community-- It was the perfect opportunity. She knew Zappos was exactly where she belonged.
So now you may be wondering – did it all work out? Did she live happily ever after? Well, I will let you in on a little secret – that girl is me. It took some passion, determination and maybe even a weird video cover letter, but here I am nine months later at the new Zappos HQ in sunny Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada!
This summer I am lucky enough to be a part of the incredible Zappos HR Team as the Recruiting College Intern. This is the third year of the internship program here at Zappos and we have a total of 42 fun and slightly weird individuals from all over the world! That makes us the largest intern class the company has ever had – woohoo!
As the recruiting intern I have had some amazing opportunities to shadow and assist the recruiters and recruiting coordinators with their daily tasks as well as take on individual projects. Every day I learn something new and grow more passionate about my work. One of the things I love most about my internship is that I’m given challenging, meaningful assignments. No filing papers, making copies, or coffee runs for this girl! I have already taken on a variety of daily tasks as well as joining in on projects with members of my team. I am also encouraged to pursue growth and learning by coming up with new, creative ideas that will help my team and Zappos grow. I have never felt so supported by a company or team before.
Speaking of team, the recruiting team at Zappos defines what it means to have a positive team and family spirit (Core Value #7). Zappos believes in integrating your work and personal life which means I do not just think of my team as coworkers but also as amazing friends. What more can you ask for than having a group of people who you can collaborate with in the office and grab dinner with after work? The recruiting team has truly have become my family here in Vegas!
It is so hard for me to believe that I am starting week five of my nine week internship here. Not only have I had the time of my life but I have grown both personally and professionally. Working for Zappos has truly been my “happily ever after” and I don’t want it to come to an end. Going into my last couple weeks of this amazing internship, one thing is for certain: I can’t wait to see what else I learn and what the future holds!
Growing up in Santa Fe, NM, I was always surrounded by culture and tradition. Although it was a small town, I always found something fun to do. I played softball, basketball, ran track, worked on my car, had a whole collection of animals, and played video games until the sun came up. My very favorite thing about this community was that everyone knew each other and it was very much like one big extended family. That small town feeling never escaped me.
Fast forward to 2007. Driving through Winslow, AZ, my grandmother couldn’t help but belt out the lyrics to that once so popular Eagles song. We were headed for Vegas to join our family for a reunion. Little did I know that the universe had something else in store for me and my life was about to change forever. I met my now husband of six years during that trip. He swept me off my feet and we had an instant connection. Living so far apart I never thought something so short would turn in to very much but a few months later, we decided to try to make things work and the rest was history. That is where my adventure in Las Vegas began.
For the next 5 years, I worked to become an HOA Manager. I enjoyed working with the communities and helping the residents but never truly loved what I was doing. I knew I needed a change and luckily a friend and co-worker told me a little about Zappos. My first thought was “They get to wear pajamas to work and they believe in unicorns… Say what?!?! Zappos, where have you been all my life?”
I couldn’t help but explore all that Zappos had to offer and before long, I decided to take the plunge and apply. In August 2012, I started at Zappos as a Customer Loyalty Team (call center) member. I loved it! Coming to work was no longer a chore and I could wear a tutu to boot! If only I had found Zappos sooner.
I loved the culture, people, events, customers, service, charity work, and everything else that was Zappos. It meant so much to me that I decided I wanted to take my newfound passion to the next level. I progressed to the Scheduling Team and, with the help of my leads, was able to map out some goals for myself and start planning my career path.
My next move was applying for a temporary position called a Z’Apprenticeship as a Recruiting Assistant. During my interviews, the team was tough and asked me some off-the-wall questions to make sure I was the right piece to their jigsaw puzzle. As a final round, I was invited to happy hour with the whole team. It was at that moment that I knew I had found my calling.
I was lucky enough to be offered the position and asked to take on my role permanently a few months later. Since then, I have never stopped learning or falling in love with what I do and my work is a great joy in my life. The best part is working with our candidates and Zappos Insiders. Each day, I get to help people that hold that same passion and drive as I do and watch them become amazing contributors to the Zappos culture. What more could I ask for?
I don’t know what the future holds or where my Journey at Zappos may take me from here, but I am definitely enjoying the ride. I love that I was able to find the things that mattered to me the most growing up, in a company that I want to grow old with. Culture, community, family and a lot of shenanigans. Yep, I am home!
Thomas Huxley once said..."Try to learn something about everything and everything about something."
And that's exactly something that I never want to stop doing--learning. Zappos has been nothing less than the perfect place to contribute to this passion. My brain is constantly cultivated by my daily tasks, the people that inspire me, and the culture that is contagious. It is a fountain of knowledge and you can always count on a variety of paths to pursue. This has been the theme of my journey here at Zappos.
A few years ago, I had decided to uproot myself from the beautiful state of California to move back home to Las Vegas. I was rapidly approaching what twenty-somethings call a "quarter-life crisis" where everything is much more dramatic in your fresh and vulnerable post-grad mind. I was torn between pursuing a legal career or continuing my education to become a speech pathologist. Because both of these routes would require a fair amount of certainty, I decided to take a break.
I needed to consider my options before diving head first into a dream that I was unsure I even wanted to chase. I began applying to a variety of jobs within those two industries of interest, thinking I had it all figured out--until life threw me a curve ball. I was driving on the freeway one afternoon and passed an adopt-a-highway sign that had the name "Zappos" on it. I had heard a lot about this company and knew how much its focus was on customer service. So when I got home that evening, I began to do a little more research on the company. After reading about the 10 core values and watching some of the videos on the culture, I was very impressed. Everyone looked so happy. The same kind of happy you see at Disneyland...but in the workplace. It almost sounded too good to be true.
The next day, I decided to contact the Recruiting Team to get more insight into applying at Zappos. I was amazed at how genuine and speedy the response was compared to the rest of my job search with other companies. Given all of the facts that I had learned about the company core values and the emphasis they place on customer service, I took a leap of faith and decided to apply for a position with the Customer Loyalty Team (CLT). What better way to understand a company than to work within the department that has the closest interactions with its customers?
The CLT department stood out to me as the face and heartbeat of Zappos. Before I knew it, I was taken on an adventure through the recruitment process. I was still in the midst of my interviews with other companies, but something deep down told me that this door was opening up for a reason and was one that I should not ignore. As I continued in the process, I knew more and more that this was a company that I wanted to work for. The stars lined up and I was fortunate enough to earn the job!
My journey at Zappos was off to a start! Little did I know how much my life would begin to change over the next few years. The training process was a great way to dig deep into the company's core values, culture, and history. Our trainers teach every new hire in the company this foundation in addition to the focal point of the company: customer service.
It can be scary to start off a new job not knowing anyone, but with training--I immediately gained 60 new friendships that I would take with me going forward. Once I began my journey with CLT, I learned to appreciate the value of true customer service and putting your customers as the #1 priority. This role taught me the importance of listening and challenged me to creatively think of ways to "wow" our shoppers.
After a few months, I began to grow within my team and learn from the leaders around me about the different ways I could pursue Core Value #5: Pursue Growth and Learning. Having always been a nerd when it comes to number-crunching, I landed a spot with our statistics team. This team gathered data and metrics from our customer-contact channels and would share this volume with the scheduling team in order to properly staff the entire department. The Excel-nerd in me came alive! Working with the numbers helped quantify the bigger story of our company.
A few months later, I continued my quest for knowledge as I joined the Toolbox team. This team helped develop leadership paths for CLT team members who had leadership on their heart. Our team also went on to help pioneer the company's first seasonal employee program in 2012. This role pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me find an inner drive that I did not know existed. It helped set me on my feet for the next step I would take: joining the Zappos Recruiting team.
Nothing excited me more than being able to help our teams find the best of the best to grow our Zappos family. I joined the team through a Z'Apprenticeship which is an internal internship program that we offer employees to pursue new opportunities with other departments. After working with the team for a few months, I knew I had found my passion! Lucky for me, they liked me too and decided to open up a permanent position for me to grow into the role that I now have as a Recruiting Coordinator for our Zappos family.
Looking back on the last year and a half, I have seen myself grow in so many ways. Bridging communication between our interviewees, hiring teams, and recruiters--I have gotten to know so many incredibly smart and talented individuals. I absolutely love that I can be both an advocate and a friend to our interviewees going through our recruitment process. My role has also taught me so much about understanding all of the little parts that go into running a successful e-commerce website. Today, I still find myself learning so much about the teams that I work with and I have challenged myself not to give up in continuing that knowledge.
You can probably tell that learning is extremely important to me. But I cannot forget to point out that while I pursue this growth and learning...there is another piece that is important to me, and that is the fact that I am surrounded by an amazing family of individuals who are always there to support me. We have our fair share of laughter and tears, we have our luck at bingo, we kick off our boots while line-dancing, we have a little too much fun together at happy hours, we are completely involved in each other's dating lives, we spend 40+ hours a week working with each other and we still want to hang out with each other outside of office hours.
What more can I say? My team is my home away from home. I cannot paint the picture clear enough. I have never worked for a company where I have seen myself challenged so much over the last few years. I have never felt as comfortable in my own skin as I do now. I have never made such a close community of relationships with the coworkers that surround me. The journey has been incredibly wild and the best part is that it only continues from here!
If you are just doing what you love, you are doing it wrong!
Okay, I apologize, that was kind of for shock value, but please let me explain it a little more by sharing my journey with you. A long time ago, I heard about the Confucius saying, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” So I thought that if someone paid me to do what I love (programming), I would have a job I loved. Do what you love. Simple, right? Wrong!
Just 1 of the 7
Wrong because I have experienced first-hand what it feels like to hate doing what you love. The first time it happened, I convinced myself it was because of the pay and the outdated technology. Surely, if I found a job with better pay and newer technologies, I would love it!
The second time it happened, it left me frustrated and made me question whether I truly loved coding. How is it possible to hate two different jobs that paid me to do what I thought I loved? I talked to some of my friends and realized I wasn’t alone. In fact, according to Gallup, “70% of American workers are ‘not engaged’ or ‘actively disengaged’.” Why are 7 out of 10 Americans not engaged? More importantly, how could I be one of the other three?
Not Even Zappos
Moving on, I decided to apply for a job at Zappos because of their culture. I figured, if I didn’t love working there, I probably didn’t truly love software engineering. I was pretty excited to get an offer from them to work on their Enterprise Data Warehouse team. I learned quite a bit on that team and worked with some really smart people, but still, I didn’t love what I was doing. Not even at Zappos!
Serendipity and Culture
I didn’t hate working at Zappos, but I didn’t love it either. I found that I enjoyed collaborating with fellow Zapponians and also liked the culture, but the work didn’t speak to me. I tried many different things working on various projects, then one day it clicked. Many random events led to me focusing all my efforts to quantify “culture” at Zappos, but how the heck does one measure culture?
The question really piqued my interest. I started working with a small group of people who asked themselves the same question. Going into it, I had no idea how we would measure culture. Thankfully, I was working with some pretty smart people and they knew where to look first. We started by asking Zapponians “why do you like working at Zappos?” The overwhelming response was other Zapponians, more specifically the relationships that they had within Zappos. Furthermore, we dug a little deeper, did some research, and found that there are actually three types of relationships that people have at work.
- The relationship you have with other people in your company.
- The relationship you have with your company and its higher purpose.
- The relationship you have with yourself and your passion.
That’s great, relationships and culture, so what? What do relationships have to do with loving your job?
While trying to quantify culture, I really started enjoying my job. In fact, I came to love my job. Amazingly, it wasn’t just the coding that I enjoyed, I began to like doing things I normally dreaded. Things like reading lengthy research papers, giving presentations, sifting through spreadsheets…I loved all of it! Looking back, I realized the problem was that I spent way too much time looking for a job based on “what” I would be doing. When I should have been thinking about “who” I would be doing it with and “why” I would be doing it. Uh duh, or ah ha!
The 4 Ps
To summarize what I learned, I have distilled “loving your job” into 4 P’s and some related questions. I would be lying if I said this is the end-all-be-all of finding a job you love, but it would have helped me get there sooner.
- People: does the company create a trust-building environment?
- Purpose: what is the company’s higher purpose?
- Passion: does the company’s purpose speak to you? Or, does the company help you understand yourself by creating a space for you to explore and get meaningful feedback?
- Power: does the company allow you to contribute to its higher purpose by doing what you love with people you trust?
What questions do you consider during interviews?
The Zappos Insider Program
We believe that you shouldn’t wait to create the first two relationships (people and purpose). We believe that before you even start at Zappos, you should know the people that you will be working with and what we are all about. We also want to get to know you and see where your passions align with ours. This is why we have created the Zappos Insider program. We want to help you answer questions like:
- Will I be working with like-minded people?
- Will I be working with people I can trust?
- What is the company’s higher purpose?
- Am I passionate about the higher purpose?
- Will I be able to contribute to the purpose?
So does Zappos have the “secret sauce” all figured out? Nope. We are still experimenting and learning how to make Zappos a place people love to “work”.
Help us learn more quickly by sharing your experiences with jobs that you have loved! Leave a comment below OR tweet us: @insidezappos!