In this month's episode of "Inside the Photo Studio", we get to know a little bit about Mark, one of our in-studio photographers.
Zappos Blogs: Zappos Family
Take a peak "Inside the Photo Studio" at Zappos.com and see what we are all about! Each month we profile a different member of our team to give you a snapshot of his/her day-to-day as we get your favorite products up on the site.
This month's feature is on Zappos Studio Manager, Lucas.
Take a peek "Inside the Photo Studio" at Zappos.com and see what we are all about! Each month we profile a different member of our team to give you a snapshot of his/her day-to-day as we get your favorite products up on the site.
This month's feature is on Junior QA, April!
If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be living in Las Vegas and working for Zappos as a technical recruiter, I would have probably laughed and muttered under my breath that “YOU’RE CRAZY.” Truth be told, as I sit here and write this, I still can’t believe that this is my reality. You see, I’ve always been a bit of a free spirit at heart with a sense of wanderlust and big dreams for my life and I’d even refer to one of my favorite quotes – “Fate loves the fearless” – as my mantra. However, it wasn’t until last fall that I really started embodying my wanderlust and fearless spirit. The day I actually boarded my flight from San Francisco to Las Vegas to interview with Zappos is when my fearless spirit ignited.
Even though I’ve only been with Zappos a little over 5 months, my serendipitous collision with this company started in the small town of Chico, CA almost twelve years ago when I was attending college and working full time at a women’s boutique downtown in customer service. I worked long hours putting together amazing outfits for the locals and one day, as I was walking to work, I noticed a new store a few doors down from us opening up--ZAPPOS. “Hmmm… funny name,” I thought to myself. I peered inside the window and noticed an amazing selection of shoes. This will be the perfect place to send all my customers to complete their outfits!
I was startled as a sales associate came outside of the store and greeted me and coaxed me in. She explained the Zappos business model and how they mostly sold shoes online and if there was any time they didn’t have a shoe size in the store stock, they could order it and have it the next day. “WOW,” I thought to myself. This seems like a crazy idea. Shoes, online? Next day shipping? So began my intrigue with this Zappos company.
I loved having them as neighbors, and then one day, I noticed a sign that they would be closing. I immediately ran inside to protest this. “Everyone here loves Zappos… what is going on?!,” I asked. The employees explained that actually, business was amazing – so amazing that the strategy to move the company to a full eCommerce site was what they were about to embark upon, as well as move the company and employees to Las Vegas. I was shocked. What a big risk. “You guys are CRAZY…,” I muttered under my breath. I wished them well and it truly was a sad day when they closed their doors in our small little town.
Over the last 12 years, I continued to follow Zappos in the news (as well as buy shoes from them) and admired the culture, the technology and Tony Hsieh’s vision from afar. Fast forward to fall of last year. I was needing a new challenge after spending the last eight years in San Francisco. The moment I boarded that plane for my interview, my life was forever changed. Everything I observed over the years was living and breathing in Downtown Las Vegas. The campus was alive with passionate people, the culture was really everything you hear it is and everyone is truly a family.
As a technical recruiter for Zappos, I am fortunate to work alongside the tech teams that are working on the CRAZY ideas and innovations that continue to set us apart from any other eCommerce company. I think of myself as more of a storyteller than a recruiter, as I get to share stories of our amazing company and culture with candidates starting their journey with us.
This was the career opportunity fate was telling me to take… and to be fearless. So when I told everyone I was moving to Las Vegas to work for Zappos, I started getting the “you’re CRAZY” comments from friends and family. But that’s the thing… the best ideas, the best business moves, the best adventures are the CRAZY ones.
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!
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!
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!
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!