Olivia Van Wormer is a Praxis Participant. When Olivia was 19, she spent a year traveling around the world. She ended up visiting 15 different countries on her self-funded adventure, and developed a passion for exploration, and is constantly finding new ways to learn. This lead her to Praxis.
Olivia recently started her apprenticeship at PandaDoc.
I recently got the chance to ask Olivia some questions about her Praxis apprenticeship. This is what she had to say:
What anxieties did you have as you went through the placement process?
“Like any big transition in my life, there was a strong sense of excitement, apprehension, and stress. Going into the process, I thought it was going to be easy for me seeing as I was a seasoned traveler and able to adapt to bizarre situations. But I found myself in an unfamiliar room, with my boxed life surrounding me, quicker than I had ever expected. I was worried about the new job, that I felt wasn’t exactly meant for me. I was contemplating my dwindling savings and the price to live in San Francisco. I thought about the nerves I had felt before my interviews with the prospective business partners and how silly those nerves seemed after a week of settling into work. I relocated with two dogs and a boyfriend from my home to the west coast with about three weeks notice. I can tell you there was a lot of stress, and anxiety entering into and going through the process. It will most likely happen way faster than seems possible and suddenly your life has pivoted 360 degrees.
However, two months after the move, with opportunities knocking at my door and a very sweet apartment, next to a very loud train, I realize these stresses brought me to this place. Exactly when it needed to happen. Push through the discomfort, the other side is rather glorious.”
What advice would you give someone going through the placement process?
“Do not make yourself an island. You have a community of Praxians at your very fingertips who have all gone through some rendition of this process. I guarantee you, your fears are shared by your fellows so use them, lean on them, ask for advice and support. Prepare yourself as much as you can for the move in the earlier months, it sneaks up on you. If at all possible, try to save up moving funds so you can have some wiggle room. In my experience, things don’t always go as planned so it is nice to have something to fall back on.
Also, if you are interviewing for a sales position, stand up for yourself and ask why. If they say that they need to think about hiring you, ask them what concerns they have and what is stopping them from saying yes.”
What’s the biggest success you’ve had at your business partner?
“A month into working with my business partner, I was promoted from a live-chat SDR role into a closing sales role. To those of you that this sounds like gibberish, it was a pretty sweet promotion for only a month of work and no previous experience. I had a combination of luck with my timing and tried to go above and beyond during the first months. I am now on track to having a great role in this company and they have placed a huge amount of trust in my ability to pick things up quickly. It’s been an awesome challenge for me to face and has made this experience truly impactful for the rest of my life.”
What’s the biggest failure or learning experience you’ve had since starting with your business partner?
“I haven’t had any distinct moments of failure. The whole process has been a huge learning experience. Every time I get off the phone with a prospect, and listen back to the recordings, hearing the nerves in my voice feels a bit like failure. I keep realizing how much I have to learn and that has been rather humbling.”
What have you learned about yourself since starting?
“Oh man, this is a difficult question. I don’t know if I can sum up the myriad ways I have grown and changed over the past two months. On a surface level, I have learned that I am actually a good sales person and really enjoy the whole process. I realized what a big part of my life work becomes and therefore it is crucial that I truly enjoying whatever I am doing. I now know I can work a 9-5 job and not feel listless or depressed by the stationary nature of the occupation. To sink a bit deeper, I found I am tougher than I thought. That if I push through the discomfort of unfamiliarity, my body knows how to sink in and settle. That sometimes life can feel off track for a moment, but you just need to give yourself a bit of time and things will sort themselves out again.”