Writers come in a load of varieties.
There are those of us who blog or those of us who write marketing copy. Others of us watch a ball game, jot stats down profusely, talk to an athlete or two, and tell the story of what happened, and how.
Today’s #GirlsRock guest, Julie Kraemer, recruits people to work as medical scribes – the people who take notes for physicians and play a revolutionary role in healthcare.
Like many of us, Julie didn’t set out from elementary school intent on a career as a recruiter. An alumna of the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Southeast Missouri State, Julie’s path led to high roads and dead ends and opportunities along the way.
Julie’s here today to tell us a bit about that path, and about some of the lessons she learned as she discovered what she loves to do – and, just as importantly, what she doesn’t love to do.
Please give Julie a warm CD welcome. I’m especially impressed with the moments in Julie’s career she recognized her strong suits, and how that realization led her to work in which she could have an impact.
Eli: When you were little, what did you think you’d grow up to be?
Julie: When I was little, I wasn’t sure what I thought I would be when I grew up. I wish I could share that I had big ideas and big plans to be a doctor, nurse, or lawyer. I suppose I had thoughts of becoming a teacher because I always liked my teachers, especially my teachers in grade school. The only other memory of an occupation I thought of for a fleeting moment was I wanted to be a dancer because I loved to dance! This dream was short-lived because God did not bless me with a body for dancing. I just knew I wanted to be successful.
In all honesty, I have alway struggled with “what do I want to be when I grow up.” I spent a lot of time finding out what I did not want to be.
Eli: Tell us about one of those things you discovered you did NOT want to be, and how you learned that.
Julie: I knew quickly growing up I did not want to do anything related to math or science; these subjects were not my strong suit. My thoughts were confirmed in high school when I took Chemistry. One day I stayed after class to talk to my Chemistry teacher, and told him, “Mr. Henderson, I hate Chemistry and I am horrible at it, but I will work hard because I do not want a bad grade in your class.” Mr. Henderson was understanding and helped me during class and after school and I thrilled to say I got a B in his class!
I chose my major in college based on what I did not like and what I was not good at so I thought the best fit for me was communications, specifically public relations. Public Relations was definitely not math or science related!
I really enjoyed my undergraduate studies and tried several options within communications, such as radio, writing an article in the student newspaper but what I really excelled at was event planning and being a student ambassador for Southeast Missouri State’s Admissions Office.
I can go more into detail about my journey after college but to stay on topic I will shift my focus to after college. I also learned the hard way that I was not cut out for administrative work. I was fired from one administrative job and am still not sure why (there is a story there but again, for another time!) Later in life, I took on an HR Coordinator job which was mainly administrative and ended up quitting because of lack of support and training was causing me to make mistakes.
I quit before I got fired essentially. After that painful decision, I came to the realization I am not a super detail oriented person which was needed for admin work. After a soul search and personality/skill assessments, I learned my skills included selling, promoting, building relationships, people interaction and having passion and purpose for the work I conduct. Overall simply stated I discovered through experience, mistakes, and taking chances what I did not want to be when I grow up.
Eli: Tell us how that led to your current job, and what it’s all about.
Julie: I love this question! I believe every experience you have, whether good or bad, is preparing you for future experiences. I graduated with my undergraduate degree the December right after September 11 and my career plan was to do something with tourism or do event planning. Well, my plan had to be re-examined! I found my first job in the want ads in a newspaper – talk about old school! I took a job with Jenny Craig, the weight-loss program, as a Program Coordinator, aka sales!
This position started to give me a strong foundation of sales techniques you learn in sales books. Also, I had a passion for helping people with weight loss, because I had always struggled with my weight. I did this for almost a year and then through networking, I applied and got a job at a meeting and planning company; yeah I was getting closer to my original plan … wrong! This is where I learned that I am not a good fit for administrative work; I was fired.
I was devastated but I picked myself and applied to be a waitress (I had been working since I was 15 1/2 so I was not okay with not having a job). This is where I learned patience, humility, and customer service. I won’t take you through every job I had but the next defining job I had was an Enrollment Counselor for the University of Phoenix. U of P had the best new employee training; to this day it remains the best training I have ever gotten! The EC position taught me about intangible sales, how to get to the pain to help motivate people to change lives.
The skills I acquired at U of P I still use today. I can say really felt like I changed people’s lives through education. I didn’t realize I needed to have a job with a purpose until I left U of P and sold promotional products. It was fun but I lacked passion for the product because it wasn’t helping people. I was hired in this position right at the recession started, yikes! I must say I also got this job through networking!!!! Well…I was laid off approximately eight months in this role and what was hard is I just got back from vacation and signed papers on my first house to then be laid off.
Again I picked myself up and ultimately ended up at University of Missouri St. Louis as an Admission Representative and then as an Employer Relations Coordinator. Again networking was key in getting my foot in the door. In both of these roles, I felt like I was making a difference by helping people begin their college careers and then help them start their professional careers. I ultimately left UMSL because of lack of advancement and not promise of increased wages but I am at PhysAssist Scribes because PhysAssist Scribes was an employer I worked with and the recruiter I work with asked if I was interested in making a change.
Through networking, positive attitude, strong work ethic, and having a passion for the work I do is how I got where I am today. I also think the ability to build strong relationships is key.
Eli: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today. What advice would you give girls today as they consider what they want to do in their careers?
Julie: Another great question! I would tell girls today to be open to opportunities; you never know where each opportunity will lead you. Also be confident in your abilities, stay positive, and never give up. Lastly, networking is powerful so never burn bridges.