Summer is in full effect! Here at Braze, we’re (safely) enjoying all of the things we love about summer. Swimming, hiking, rooftops, and more. At the same time, this season isn’t just about what you’re doing now; it’s also about reminiscing—especially about all of the things that kept us busy as kids, particularly our first summer jobs!
We all remember that first summer job, the one we took to help pay bills, save up for that one thing your parents wouldn't buy for you, or simply to get a taste of the real world. Scooping ice cream, sitting poolside as a local lifeguard, mowing lawns for neighbors, and more. This summer, we’re tapping Braze employees to share stories about memorable summer jobs they once had.
To kick off this series we chatted with Jazmine Noble, Strategic Alliance Development Manager, Brian Wheeler, VP of Product Engineering and Sylvia Wampler, Business Development Representative to find out all of the details of their first summer jobs!
What Was Your First Summer Job and How Old Were You?
Jazmine: Retails Sales Associate at a shoe store, 17
Brian: Dishwasher at a pizza place, 12
Sylvia: Smoothie/cold-pressed juice shop, 17
What Skills Did This First Summer Job Teach You?
Jazmine: Have you heard people say that everyone should have to work in a restaurant at least once? I feel that way about working in retail. As a 17-year-old sales associate in a shoe store, I became increasingly confident communicating with strangers over the course of my summer. I learned how to find common ground in conversation, ask sales discovery questions, pick up on buyer social cues, and provide a high standard of customer service that can lead to loyalty.
Brian: First and foremost, how to put in a sustained effort. I remember the first time I did anything for two hours straight, I was so exhausted afterwards.
Sylvia: At my first job, I learned a lot of core skills—including attention to detail, learning how to manage a fast-paced environment, communication skills when talking with customers and coworkers, and work ethic.
Which of Those Skills Help You Today at Braze?
Jazmine: I'm very glad that I began developing strong communication and interpersonal skills early, as they have served me daily throughout my career. As a manager on the Braze Partnerships team, it's my job to build long-term, strategic relationships with our agency and consultancy partners. Effective communication, explicit and implicit, is the foundation of everything I do. It's like golf though, you never fully master it. You're always crafting your communication skills.
Brian: I think the biggest things were the value of hard work and a focus on customer service. On the hard work front, I think I learned that to do a good job, it means putting in the effort, and that has served me well ever since. On the customer service front, it was the idea that the customer is someone you should always value and appreciate. On the flip side, when I graduated to delivering pizzas, someone once tipped me thirty cents on a $80 order. My boss called that customer up and said to never order from the restaurant again. So I also learned that there’s a line between obsession with customer service and making sure your people aren’t being treated poorly.
Sylvia: Braze is super fast-paced and if it weren't for my first job preparing me for that type of work environment, I would have been overwhelmed and had a harder time building time management skills. Clear, thorough communication is key not only in my role but it’s a life skill as well. During my time at my first job, collaborating with coworkers and explaining the juicing concept built up those communication skills. I’ve seen that these traits have translated to my everyday life at Braze, both through interacting with my team, manager, and peers, as well as communicating with potential Braze customers.
What Is One Piece of Advice You Would Tell Your Younger Self When Just Starting Out Your Career?
Jazmine: Take advantage of programs and forums at your company that expose you to different people from different teams for the purpose of learning and building relationships. I'm happy to share that mentoring later became a passion of mine. In 2018 at Braze, I co-founded an Employee Resource Group called Femmentor, which is a series of mentorship initiatives with the goal of empowering women and our allies. My hope is that this program will continue to develop as a pillar of mentorship within the Braze community.
Brian: I would have been more intentional in my research and decisioning around what I wanted to do and where I wanted to work. I made major decisions fairly ad hoc early on.
Sylvia: I would advise people beginning their career to figure out what they are passionate about and join a company which they see value in and which they can bring value to as well. Taking advantage of the people around you and building those relationships also will go a long way when it comes to learning and growing.
Any Fun Stories From Your First Summer Job That You Can Share With Us?
Jazmine: I'll never forget that I initially failed the job interview because I scored "too ambitious" on an online assessment that all applicants had to complete. I guess selecting "strongly agree" with the statement "I see myself becoming a CEO" may have alerted them to the fact that I wouldn't be sticking around after that summer...
Brian: Later on, when I graduated to delivering pizzas, a customer ordered a small pizza, a small bottle of champagne, and cigarettes. #goals
Sylvia: My favorite memories are going to the Farmers Markets with the Marketing Director every Saturday morning to sell juices and introduce people to the juicing concept. It was a fun way to learn how to pitch a product and also meet different types of people in the Cincinnati area. I was also able to connect and get to know other vendors and their products.
Braze is in the fortunate position to still be hiring this year. If you’re interested in joining us, please take a look at current openings.