How Vanguard became my home away from home

As part of National Career Development Month, crew member Dan K. reflects on his nine years at Vanguard and the advice he picked up from his leaders along the way.

I grew up in suburban Western Pennsylvania about 30 minutes outside the city of Pittsburgh. I graduated from Slippery Rock University (SRU) with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. I always loved the greater Pittsburgh area and never even considered a move some 300 miles across the state to the greater Philadelphia area. Even before I applied to Vanguard, I told myself (and my parents) that I would spend one to two years at Vanguard and then seek out a job “back home.”

Joining Vanguard

It was the spring of 2008 and the Great Recession was just months away. On April Fool’s Day, I received a phone call that I was being extended an offer to join Vanguard’s Technology Leadership Program. (Yes, my offer letter is dated April 1!) My first role was a Systems Operations Analyst within Global Technology Operations. There, I joined a team of talented technicians who served as guardians of Vanguard’s critical web infrastructure. This position helped me hone my technical and professional skills while building a strong network of peers I keep in touch with even to this day.

Career growth

In late 2012, an opportunity to join a team within Global Support Services (GSS) appeared in our internal job posting system. With my manager’s support and guidance, I was able to successfully apply for and obtain this new position. This role exposed me to many different U.S.-based teams across the company and I also got the opportunity to work with our growing office in Australia. As I continued to develop in my role, my manager and I had regular discussions about my career path at our weekly 1-on-1 sessions. One week in late February 2016, I had found a role that would be a perfect fit for my goals. It turns out that my manager saw the same role, too! Of course, we both agreed that I should apply for the position.

After interviewing for the new role in the spring, I moved to the Next Generation Apps team. In my current role, I support the software build pipeline responsible for software releases (deployments) which happen every four minutes. There is never a boring day in this role and no problem is the same. My team members are some of the most talented technicians I’ve ever met during my tenure at Vanguard.

We work well together, which is especially important considering that we’re charged with promoting progressive software development practices and technologies across the entire company.

Over the course of these past nine years at Vanguard, I’ve had the opportunity to receive career advice from a variety of crew members, most of whom measure their tenure in decades. These same coworkers have advised me to keep growing professionally and personally. In that vein, they’ve encouraged me to never become complacent, always be on the lookout for a better way to do something, and always be an advocate for yourself.

Benefits

With the support of my manager and team, I completed my master’s degree at Penn State in December, 2016. It took over two years of night classes after a full day’s work and plenty of declined social obligations. While I was supported by the people I worked with, Vanguard’s generous tuition reimbursement program provided the financial backing and incentive to advance my education. I am certain that I wouldn’t have chosen to advance my education without this critical support in place. Every step of the way, my leadership team encouraged me to do my best work while giving me the opportunity to figure out solutions to tough problems in my own way.

One of the biggest benefits of working for Vanguard is the ability to take on different roles and move around the company. The ease of mobility has allowed me to develop an appreciation of the work that goes into running a company with nearly $5 trillion in assets under management. It also is a great way to build a strong network of colleagues who you can count on to help out when something isn’t quite right, whether at work or elsewhere.

If I could share one piece of career advice with others, it would be to always feel comfortable with changing things up periodically. Rotating through three different positions in the span of nine years has provided me with immeasurable benefits. I often tell my friends and family it’s why my plan to stay “just one to two years” became nearly a decade.

-Dan K.

If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our career opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com

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