May 15, 2016, was a beautiful, sunny day in Des Moines, IA. Not only was it the third Sunday of the month, it also marked my first step into the “real world,” as it was the day I graduated from Drake University.
Like many of my fellow graduates, we were about to embark on a journey into the workplace. Folks were going to be accountants at the Big Four accounting firms, teachers in schools across the United States, and for me, I was going into marketing for an office technology company.
You might be thinking, “Office technology? Really? Why not work for an agency, a well-known corporation or a non-profit?”
I considered all those options, I really did. But in the end, one of the main reasons why I chose this not-so-sexy industry was because of stability. I knew I would have a job in the industry for as long as I wanted.
We use technology in our daily lives constantly. From emailing colleagues and friends, doing research for a project on a computer, calling a client on a telephone, or printing documents off the office copier. Whether or not we realize it, we’re using technology.
Since technology surrounds us, I made the confident decision to enter the industry – even without a personal background in technology. *Gasp.*
It turns out that I’m not the only one to make this jump into the technology industry without a technology background. Two of my very successful co-workers here at Access Systems came with very different backgrounds – one was a butcher, the other was a former copier-sales-turned-car-salesperson.
Chris came to Access in 2011 and was a butcher at Fareway in his previous position. Through a connection with his mother-in-law, who happened to be an Access Systems customer, he was connected with to an Access sales rep, who got him an interview – and the rest is history.
When he came onboard, Chris didn’t know he was selling copiers. With his interest in technology, he thought he was going to be selling IT and computers. However, since joining the team, Chris has found a passion for selling fleet (copiers and printers for those new to the industry) because he can work with companies to optimize a work environment to get the most out of it and lower costs.
In addition to finding his passion, Chris has also gone from sales representative to regional branch manager in five years. Since Access Systems is a growing company, a rapidly growing company at that, there are many opportunities for advancement in a short amount of time.
Even with the rapid growth, Access has remained employee-centric and attentive to company culture. Many people here at Access, myself included, have said the people are one of the reasons that make this company great. This is also true for my co-worker Steve.
Steve had been with Access for three years on the copier sales team before leaving to take a sales position at a local Des Moines car dealership. The late nights and weekend work took a toll on him and he was back with the Access team in 2013.
He noted that one of the big reasons he came back was because of the schedule. At Access, you work during the day, you’re not working late into the night, and you have your weekends. In addition, Steve wanted to work with Shane and the rest of the Access team again – only this time in the IT division.
In his new division, Steve provides customers a solution that is right-sized to their business. “IT is something people need,” Steve said. “We’re able to educate customers on the importance of IT, which will, in turn, help their business.”
After talking with Chris and Steve I picked up on two characteristics that one might not necessarily pick up on when thinking about the office technology industry. First, whether you realize it or not, technology is changing constantly and office technology is no different.
Every year the copiers get more efficient, the IT security gets more resilient against cyber-attacks and phone systems can do more and more for our workplace – and we have the opportunity to stay abreast and up-to-date on these changes, which we are then able to educate our clientele about.
This brings me to my other, and the biggest, characteristic I found about those that work in this industry: we like to help people and make their businesses and processes more efficient.
Helping can take many forms in this industry. For me, it’s creating educational materials teaching customers about the importance of backing up their devices (among many other things). For Chris, it’s making their print infrastructure more efficient. For Steve, it’s working with a company and identifying IT risks and providing solutions for them. Our admin and service teams are here to help make sure any needs our customers have been addressed.
While I probably haven’t convinced you that office technology is a “sexy” industry, I hope you are left looking at the industry in a new light. Whether that’s realizing how stable it is or that it’s an industry where you can help people in ways you might not have realized.
I may not have made the decision to work in a “sexy” industry, but I’m sure glad I’m working in a stable one at a great company.