Myth or fact? Unlocking careers in tech & customer service 

June 19, 2024
career pivot

What comes to mind if someone asks you to consider a career in customer service or technology? 

What about a career combining the two? 

We spoke with two women who are well-versed in both areas: Megan Aleksovski and Sarah MacDougal. They are Field Area Managers for nbn, which designs, delivers, builds, and operates Australia’s national broadband network. 

To set the scene, what’s it like working in field services?  

Megan: “I collaborate, communicate, promote HSE (Health, Safety, & Environment), and lead teams across various projects. My favorite part of my role is being out in the field with the team and meeting our customers. Day to day, you’ll find me assisting my team and learning as much as I can.”

Sarah: “I’m much the same. My favorite part of my role is being a leader for our internal workforce and supporting them. I enjoy being in the trenches with them, helping them with complex issues, lending a hand to get customers connected on the day, and demonstrating we’re all in it together to get the work done.”

With this in mind, we unpack a few common myths about customer service and technology roles. Whether you have industry experience or are in a different industry, you may discover an interesting new fact or two. 

Myth: Customer service is all about dealing with unhappy customers  

Fact: Many customers are happy to receive support. 

We all hear lots of horror stories about managing unhappy customers. On the contrary, Megan believes it might surprise people to know how genuinely happy customers are to see them. 

“It’s a great experience to help turn around a customer. I continue to be amazed at the technical knowledge of my team. It’s always a great day when you attend an escalation, and your customers are ‘wowed’ by the great work of our Field Engineers and Customer Service Technicians. Leaving them with a great experience and good story to tell about nbn always leaves you feeling satisfied.” 

Myth: Technology is a ‘man’s’ industry. 

Fact: Women are progressing in tech. 

Perhaps it’s worth acknowledging that there is still more work to promote gender equity in the industry. But from Megan’s perspective, it’s no longer a ‘man’s’ industry. And it makes a difference in finding the right company to grow in.  

“By that, I mean women are motivated, competent, and capable of learning technical specifications and handling tools. At nbn, there is a genuine want for women in this space, and support from male allies is genuine and welcomed. As a result, we’re definitely seeing more women join the field services team. I, personally, haven’t experienced any gender-based barriers. Diverse, unique perspectives mean we all have something meaningful to bring to the table. This makes our workplace a great place to be.” 

Sarah agrees, adding:

headshot of sarah

“Since joining nbn more than 11 years ago, I’ve been fortunate to progress in different roles throughout the organization, enabling me to grow and develop new skills and reach where I am today.” 

Myth: You need to know or be in tech to gain an opportunity. 

Fact: It can help to have a tech background or knowledge. But it’s possible to pivot into the industry and gain training to develop your skills. 

As Megan and Sarah agree, there aren’t specific roles or careers come to mind for people to pivot into the industry. What most often makes people successful is a few key characteristics. 

In her seven years with nbn, Megan has had the opportunity to pursue personal and professional goals, including achieving her Certificate III. She advises that while she’s still finding her feet in her current role, she’s proud of everything she’s been able to achieve so far:

“Just being in this position – after setting a personal goal for myself, achieving my Certificate III, and juggling all that life throws at you in between – is an incredible personal achievement. I’ve been so lucky to have the support of the Field Services team. Even when I was in another department, they included me in roles to help me broaden my exposure, gain experience, and get to know a great bunch of people. Every day is very different, and there are always new things to learn.” 

When asked who the role might be most suited to, Megan is keen to highlight that anyone interested in technology with a hard-working attitude could pivot into Field Services. 

career pivot

“There’s a great support network for learning and training.  There are great career pathways if you have the right attitude and can work as a team player and autonomously. Change is constant – so there’s no chance you’ll get bored either!”” 

Within Field Services, there is a diverse range of opportunities, including Customer Field Technicians, Field Engineers, Field Quality Specialists, Technical Compliance Specialists, and Trainees. 

Beyond this, nbn has support staff and many other departments working together and assisting teams to work safely and successfully in the field. Sarah adds:

“I’ve worked with plenty of team members who are new to the industry. It just goes to show anyone from all walks of life can gain a role in Field Services. All you need is the right mindset and attitude to achieve a successful career. Plus, there are plenty of office-based and field roles you can explore.” 

How can nbn support your career development?

Find out more. 

Myth: Changing roles or industries is difficult and scary.

Fact: Any change can be nerve-wracking. But it can bring plenty of positives, too.

Before moving to nbn, Megan had built her career for more than 15 years in another company. When she decided to move, she was afraid of the unknown and unaccustomed to change.  

“What helped me was when, early in my new role, the GM [General Manager] spoke to us about the vision of nbn across the country. She was passionate and excited about what we could accomplish together, not just for ourselves but as a nation. I felt like I was part of something great, that I’d made the right decision, and was exactly where I needed to be.” 

Since the nature of the business is to change and evolve, so too has she: 

career pivot

“I’ve transformed from being fearful of change to seeing the positives it brings. Plus, in my opinion, the greatest, smartest people in the industry are all here. Everyone I work with lifts each other up and celebrates each other’s success. I’ve been helped so much along the way – it’s helped me see my potential.” 

Sarah touts the benefits of nbn’s Trainee Program for those considering exploring a new career option:

“I worked with this program when I first started this role. It was a new program for people entering the industry, providing them with a new career in the field. It’s something that makes me proud. Building our internal workforce with diversity is such an achievement.”

Myth: The tech industry isn’t conducive to achieving work-life balance

Fact: Many tech organizations offer meaningful benefits to support work-life balance, flexibility, and parenthood.

According to Megan, even pre-pandemic, nbn supported her with a two-day work-from-home agreement: 

career pivot

“With three children, one who was only two at the time, this greatly assisted me in being able to manage my time more effectively, and my family and work responsibilities. In my current role, Field Services continues to give me the freedom to be a parent in a way that suits both me and the business.”  

Sarah agrees, citing that she’s always felt a strong work-life balance thanks to nbn’s positive workplace practices:

nbn has many ways of supporting work-life balance. For me personally, I received support through the Parental Leave program, returning to work part-time. This gave me a great re-entry into work, but I still had days to care for my family. Throughout my tenure, I’ve used it twice after having my two girls. Another thing, of course, is being able to work from home. That flexibility is so helpful.” 

Final thoughts 

Perhaps Megan and Sarah’s insights have shifted your perspective about a career in field services. If this interests you, consider an opportunity with nbn

Megan encourages: 

“Sometimes fear of the unknown or fear of failure can cause us not to reach our full potential and stay in a ‘safe’ job or place. They’re barriers of our own making. So be kind to yourself. While I may not be particularly brave or ambitious, I’m so glad I stepped outside my comfort zone and pushed myself to reach this career goal. So feel the fear, and do it anyway! Be brave. Try something new.” 

Is a Field Services role with nbn the right career path for you? 

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About the Author

With a professional background in careers education, employability, and psychology, Elaine Chennatt has worked with many individuals from all walks of life to find their path. Following a career pivot, she now utilizes her passion for words to help inspire, motivate, and guide audiences as they pursue career growth and purpose. As the Global Content Writer & Editor for WORK180, Elaine is passionate about uncovering the stories that matter to help our community find where they can thrive.

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