I always knew that I wanted to live in Europe, but I wasn’t sure how to get there. For nine long years I worked for T-Mobile as a Regional Marketing Manager–a position that allowed me both time and money to do things I loved.
But I was restless. I knew that as comfortable as I was, if I never moved to Europe I’d never forgive myself. I needed to see what other challenges I could tackle!
One day, sitting in a windowless, repurposed closet of an office in Jacksonville, I decided that grad school was my ticket out.
If I’m really being honest, in a way I’d made my decision a few weeks before when I’d bought a book titled something to the effect of “Read This Book if you want to be Instagram Famous.”
Grad school it was. Fast forward about 1.5 years, and there I was landing in Madrid, Spain, ready to start a program in Business Analytics and Big Data.
I’d read all of the articles on how Big Data was the new hot thing, looked at all of the classes in the program, and asked myself, how hard could this be?
Spoiler alert…really freaking hard.
Why didn’t I choose the Marketing Program? What was I going to do with this degree if it took me 3 hours to troubleshoot one error in Python?
To keep myself sane, I joined the university’s Startup Lab and loved every second of it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite nail the million dollar startup idea.
My startup dream would have to wait. Eventually I finished the program, traveled Europe, and then it was time to find a job.
After two months of not leaving my apartment except to shop for groceries, I was finally aboard a flight out of Madrid. The pressure was on.
As I applied to anything and everything for which I qualified, I began to worry.
Had I quit an amazing company and moved to a completely different continent only to do something I didn’t really enjoy?
I had to reach deep inside to find what it really was that I wanted to do and then find a company that did it.
One Sunday afternoon, I was scrolling through Linkedin, and there it was, the company that I had been looking for since receiving my grad degree: Metadata.
It turns out that I didn’t really dislike my grad school program as much as I thought I did–I just needed to use it in a way that spoke to me.
I’ll never code a Machine Learning model, but I can tell you exactly why Decision Trees optimize ad spend. I’ll never run PCA in R, but every once in a while I can combine a couple of CSVs really quickly to remove duplicates to hit the right target accounts.
And sometimes I get to speak to clients who speak the same “language”, which in turn allows me to connect with them even more, and makes for an even more exciting day!
Metadata is the product that I wish I had developed in Startup Lab.
I needed to hop on this rocketship to take me to a place where I could talk about decision trees and pipeline in the same sentence and not be considered a weirdo. If only my fellow alumni could see me now!
Everyone says the people are what make a company, and I know it’s a cliche, but the people here really are what make this company.
At Metadata, there is truly strength in diversity, which is something that I appreciated most about my time abroad. I love working at a place where more than 10 nationalities are represented in a group of just 40-some people.
And as for the values, well I’ll end with my favorite one: We are a company that forgives.
We forgive each other when we make mistakes and we forgive ourselves when we’re not our best. “Forgiveness does not change the past but it does enlarge the future and allow us to move on as a team.” (Quote by Paul Lewis Boese).
I knew I would have never forgiven myself had I not traded something really good for something amazing.
Although I can’t change the 9 years I spent in one place, I’ve forgiven myself for not always taking risks, and now I’m moving forward at the place where I really feel I am supposed to be!
Gil Allouche: Hello everyone. Happy Friday. My name is Gil Allouche. I’m the founder and CEO
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