A non-linear career path is sometimes seen as scattered and haphazard. But that point of view ignores the fact that it can also lead people to become highly adaptable, with broader expertise. And for independent writer and marketer Sophie He, it perfectly prepared her for the best job she’s ever had.
Sophie’s currently on a long-term contract as a senior copywriter for one of We Are Rosie’s Fortune 100 tech clients. It’s a role she loves, but her route to it was anything but straightforward.
“I had a very winding career up to this point, and one of the reasons is that I guess I just didn’t know what I wanted from life,” Sophie says, laughing. “I wasn’t particularly driven in school, and, in my 20s, I just decided to try out different roles.”
“I started out 13 years ago in tech marketing but then took a job as a copywriter in an ad agency. Eventually, I went back to tech marketing and then ended up going to graduate school to study creative writing.”
To her surprise, Sophie found that her non-linear career path actually set her up nicely for her current job, which she says is a fusion of her previous work experience.
“[It] requires tech experience, which I got from my tech marketing jobs. But it also requires sharp copywriting, creative thinking, and an attention to language, which my ad agency work and my graduate studies gave me.”
“I wasn’t following a plan as my career moved along,” she adds. “But it’s really interesting how all my past experience paved the way for me to succeed in a role that I really love.”
Finding the right work-life balance as a writer
Sophie is quick to add that working in Big Tech through We Are Rosie gives her amazing work-life balance. That’s important because she continues pursuing creative writing outside of her day job.
“I know in advance what my assignments are each week, and that really helps me figure out my day-to-day schedule,” Sophie explains. “It’s a fully remote role; my hours are flexible and I have very few meetings. I’m basically left alone to do my work.”
“If you ask any writer what they need to succeed, they’ll all say time, and this job gives me the time I need to exercise my creative side. [It] has helped me become a more precise, concise writer, while my creative work definitely energizes me for my day-to-day work. The two really complement each other.”
Sophie has also noted a high level of professionalism and independence on the team she works with. She says that isn’t always the type of environment you find with full-time office work.
“There’s very little micromanaging on my team; everyone’s treated like an adult,” she says. “You’re expected to deliver without a lot of hand-holding, and I really appreciate that.”
Getting comfortable with “ignorance”
Another unexpected benefit of Sophie’s zig-zag career path is that it’s helped her get a lot more comfortable with what she refers to as her “ignorance.” That may sound odd, but she can explain.
“In my career, every few years I started a totally new position where I basically knew very little,” she says. “But because of that, I became faster and more adept at learning new things.”
“Early in my career, I used to feel insecure about not knowing everything, but I’ve learned that no one knows everything. It’s OK to admit that you don’t know something and ask for help. That’s how you learn.”
And recently, that ability to learn quickly on the job has come in handy, as Sophie’s worked on projects related to emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence.
“I think most people would agree that those fields are going to blow up in the years ahead, and I’m getting experience with them as that’s happening. That seems like a real plus for my career.”
Full-time work again? Nope!
Sophie initially joined We Are Rosie as she was re-entering the workforce post-grad school. While she intended to find a short-term role, the long-term opportunity with a global tech brand was a game changer.
“It’s worked out so well for me,” she says, adding that having We Are Rosie to handle the administrative side of things (like contracts, health insurance, and clients payments) allows her to focus solely on the work that she was hired (and loves) to do.
“My partnership with We Are Rosie has been amazing, and it’s given me the best work-life balance I’ve ever had,” she adds. “Honestly, I don’t think I could ever go back to full-time work after this!”