How a Flexible Working Culture Can Boost Your Professional Growth

Choosing my career path was one of the biggest challenges of my life. I think tradition played a big role in all of this. We millennials were raised by a generation to whom everything was meant to be a commitment for life. So when it came to choosing a degree, it was no shock that this was supposed to be something I would do for the rest of my life. This added a lot of pressure to the mix. I was not only expected to choose the right career for me but also I was expected to be good at it… and enjoy it! To me this was outrageous. An impossible mission indeed.

However, after some consideration, I decided to study fashion design. It made sense at the time: I loved fashion, I was good at drawing, and I’ve always had a creative mind. Years went by and, when I was in the last stages of my career, I started working in a role closer to HR. I got more and more interested until I discovered that “my one true calling” might be more than one.

It was a very hard decision to make. All my friends were saying things like “You’ve come this far, why don’t you finish this?”, and the answer was obvious to me: “Why would you go on one more day with something that doesn’t make you happy?” So I switched careers to labor relations and started from zero.

At the time, I started working in a multinational company that sold me this idea of a flexible environment (and I definitely bought it). But as time went by, this “flexible environment” was more of a very fixed schedule that included micromanagement and that was not matching my studying schedule. It was very hard to make it on time to both commitments. I spent hours commuting back and forth. It came to a point where it was impossible to maintain a full-time job and also be a full-time student. This whole situation led me to quit university thinking it may just not be for me.

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This was where I was standing when my best friend, Barbie Engelen, got into this new SW company and by her comments and the pictures she was posting on social media, it looked like she was having the time of her life. So much so that she ended up referring me to Avature. I was not looking but I was definitely intrigued and there was no harm in participating in an interview process. That’s when I met Nieves Arango. She was my recruiter back in the day and I must say, she is one of the best. After the first interview with her I was hooked. At the time, I had an HR background and no formal experience in recruiting so I remember thinking “one day I will work in her team.”

Soon I joined Avature as an account manager knowing it was going to be a great opportunity for my career path. I had a plan: I was going to learn about the business, the product, and the company, put into use the skills I got studying labor relations, and all of these would come to good use in the future, when I became a recruiter at Avature one day, but going back to my studies was out of the question—at least for now.

I thought I had it all sorted out but I wasn’t counting on one tiny detail: Avature’s culture. Different Avaturians may tell you different things about it but we all agree that flexibility, collaboration, and autonomy are part of our DNA. It sounds overly simplistic but when applied to a working environment, you can achieve great things. Not just as a company but also, like in my case, as an individual.

Once I understood that I was trusted and that I had the autonomy to organize my working hours, I realized that I could also use this flexibility to resume my studies. I wouldn’t say it was an easy thing to do but for the first time I could see that it was possible to combine the working and the studying schedules.

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After a couple of years—even sooner than I expected—, I decided it was time for me to apply for a job in the Talent department. And I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Denise Dresler, we instantly clicked and from then on I was the new Talent Acquisition Specialist.

This job combined beautifully with my newfound career. And it still does to this day. I still love fashion (and shoes), I still like to draw, but I found a new way to put my creativity to good use. I get to help people who are having a hard time choosing a new job or a new career path. I find this part of my job incredibly rewarding. And did I mention that I finally got my degree?

After almost 6 years at Avature, I can say that it is not what we do that makes us so special but how we do it.