My Life as a New Fellow: Marvelouse Guerrier

We can all agree that this year has been filled with surprises, especially if you are a 2020 graduate like me who had expected to end college with a bang. All of the sudden, that bang was more like the ending of Game of Thrones: anticlimactic and a disappointment. Just me graduating online from my couch, no jobs lined up, yet optimistic about a future job placement at a startup through Venture For America.

Let’s talk a little bit about what the job search was like for me. From the beginning VFA was very clear that the opportunities on the Match portal (synonymous to a job portal) had decreased. This worried me because the 2020 class was the largest class VFA had ever had and there were now significantly more Fellows than job opportunities. Though they reassured us that they had extended the job search time frame to December, I remained pessimistic about my chances of getting matched before the end of the year.

The Match experience itself was very stressful, though I had been advised to be open-minded about the roles, cities, and industries I wanted to be in, I still set a strict criteria for myself. For example, my top two was that I did ​not​ want to be a company’s first employee nor did I want to move to the South. As it turns out those criteria significantly reduced my job opportunities. As I sent out pitches to companies and went through the interview process I realized that I needed to be more flexible and broaden my search scope. After sending over 40 pitches I received an offer on August 4th, 2020 from Biso Collective. A company that acquires B2B mission-critical SaaS businesses. Not only am I the company’s first hire but it is also located in Birmingham, Alabama.

Prior to moving to Birmingham from Connecticut, I felt both excitement and fear. I looked forward to meeting all the Fellows, exploring a new city, and most of all working at a startup. On the other hand, moving to a new city and into an apartment with a roommate whom I had not met in person was daunting (especially during a pandemic). It has now been a month since I’ve been in Birmingham, and I have no regrets at all. At Biso, my formal title is Operations Specialist but internally I am Biso’s Swiss Army Knife, which is essentially a versatile role where I help on anything relating to operations and business development. I currently work out of Biso’s office in The Switch district in downtown Birmingham, the building has about 10,000 square-feet of space (fun fact: it was originally built in 1926 and served as the central vault for Tennessee Coal Iron Company). On a personal level, my roommate situation is great. We live in the heart of downtown, a mere 3-minute walk from the closest grocery store and surrounded by restaurants.

All in all, life in Birmingham is great so far. People have been so welcoming, especially in the entrepreneurship community. It truly is a beautiful city, there is so much to do and see. I look forward to making more connections and helping my company grow into itself and make its mark on Birmingham. My number one piece of advice for anyone worried about applying to jobs during COVID, especially as a Fellow, I urge you to be open-minded about the city, position, and industry. Even if it may not seem very exciting on paper, just apply, and go from there.

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