While Heidi Seo is now happily thriving as a Backend Software Engineer at ClearScore, four years ago her resume told a very different story. She shares with us her journey, and the three ‘saviours’ that helped dig her out of her career rut.
1. The inspirational strangers
When I hopped on a plane to London a year and a half ago, I thought it was Canada I was bored with and wanted to run away from. I was convinced that I would find my happiness in London. I’ve always loved visiting Europe; you can hop on a flight for just an hour or two and find yourself in a completely different country whereas in Canada you might be lucky to get to the other side of the country even once in your lifetime. So, I did it! I applied for a nine-month contract at a sister accounting firm in the UK and moved.
I was loving my life in London. I was away most weekends exploring new European cities and 25 vacation days was an upgrade from 15! But there was still this unsettling feeling in me, and I soon realised that moving was only a temporary fix for my happiness.
Ten years ago, I’d finished my bachelor’s in accounting. It seemed like a safe option to find a job at the time. After graduating I got a job at an accounting firm and after working during the day and studying after work for a couple years, I finally became a CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant). Working in an accounting firm required insane working hours during the dreaded “busy seasons”, and the stress of it all was making me more and more depressed. But I’d put in so much time and effort already, it seemed like a crazy idea to leave a good career. I’d thought moving to London would be the answer.
After the sunshine and rainbows of travelling slowly wore off, I removed my rose-coloured glasses and saw the real source of my unhappiness: my job. It was my career that was making me depressed, not where I was living. I knew that to find true happiness I would need to look for healing in a more meaningful way.
Just before my contract was supposed to end, I went on a solo trip to Luxembourg where I met who I now call my “career saviours”; a couple from New Zealand who were working as software developers in Brighton. They claimed to LOVE their jobs, a concept which was unheard of in my old career. Who on earth loves their job?! I was intrigued.
I had always been interested in automation and fascinated by how technology evolves the world we live in, but I had never thought of participating. After the trip, I did extensive research on what software development is all about, and the more I read, the more interested I became.
I wanted to learn more, but I hated the thought of going back to university and spending another four years doing a bachelor’s degree. At that moment, I found this magical thing called BOOTCAMP! But it was expensive and there would be no income for months until I would hopefully get a new developer job at the end of it all. It seemed like a lot of risk but thought to myself, if I didn’t do it now, I would never do it.
Despite having zero coding experience under my belt, I called my firm in Canada and told them I wasn’t coming back, and registered for a nine-week course that was starting the next month. Needless to say, I was sweating bullets.
2. A company that cared
I’m not gonna lie, bootcamp was not easy. All day every day I was learning using different parts of my brain that I hadn’t exercised in a while. The nine weeks flew by, and I was lucky to get an offer from hiring week where companies come and do speed interviews with the bootcamp attendees.
The first few weeks of the new job were great; I got along really well with my colleagues, and I joined and created a bunch of social activities. And what was this? I got to wear jeans and hoodies to work?! After years trapped in the stifling corporate accounting life, it seemed like it was too good to be true! And as it turned out – it was.
After hustling and bustling for three months, the company decided to discontinue my team’s project and let go all the engineers from my team along with many others from several different teams in a single morning.
There was nothing I could do, nothing I could control. It blindsided me and left me beating myself up wondering what I could’ve or should’ve done better? It was rough. I was mentally breaking down. I’d never felt so insecure about my job and career path than at that moment.
From that dark wallowing place, it was ClearScore who came and held my hand.
Everyone in my interview process was absolutely amazing and I could really see myself building my new career here. My whole experience at ClearScore has been exceptional with support not just from the backend team, but also from many others in the company.
Speaking of amazing interview processes, did you know ClearScore are open to discussing flexible working arrangements right from the interview stage?
Check out their other inclusive employee benefits and policies.
I’m not going to lie, at the start I was suffering from massive imposter syndrome in my new career. Most of the things I faced each day were new and I was also dealing with the mentally traumatic experience of getting let go overnight – which had impacted me much more than I’d like to admit. But with enough distance I’ve now gained the perspective to see that maybe it wasn’t the right fit to begin with. Since I’ve been at ClearScore, I’ve been so much happier with my career than I ever thought I ever could be, and I am filled with excitement and hope as I look to build this new chapter of my life.
3. The heroine within!
So, who was Heidi’s third saviour we hear you ask? Well, from reading her story, we at WORK180 think that Heidi was the biggest hero of her story.
Heidi undertook the reflection necessary to see where her life needed to change.
Heidi took the massive leap of faith to leave her ‘safe’ career as an accountant and take the plunge into something that truly sparked her interest.
Heidi did the hard work to start from the bottom and learn everything she needed to start her new career.
And it was Heidi who picked herself up after the crushing blow of her redundancy and stuck with her new dreams.
We can’t wait to see more great things from Heidi in her new role at ClearScore!