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From the Classroom to Corporate: How One Employee Reinvented her Career by Joining Spectrum

Changing jobs can be intimidating, especially when you decide to do something completely different.

Kathleen not only explored a new industry, she also reinvented her career in her early fifties. After spending 10 years working in Special Education and raising a family, Kathleen was ready for a change. Her children were older, and she no longer had to adhere to a strict school schedule, leaving Kathleen with many possibilities for her future career. After seeing multiple advertisements, Kathleen had her sights set on working for Spectrum, and joined the team in June of 2020.

Upon joining Spectrum, she recalls realizing what she needed to do to take on a brand-new career path.

“As a teacher, it was my responsibility to motivate my students,” said Kathleen. “After joining Spectrum, I realized I needed to be able to motivate myself.”

Q: How has your career evolved at Spectrum?

A: Entering the corporate workforce at fifty is challenging – it is not easy learning a new job, but Spectrum is a place where everyone wants you to succeed.

I started as a Mobile Billing Agent where I was both challenged by the role and supported by my management and peers. I had to get comfortable with the technology, learn and understand Spectrum’s suite of products and services and ensure customers felt supported. As time went on, my confidence and capabilities grew, and I eventually became a mentor to new hires in July of 2021. While I was a mentor, I formed strong connections with adult learners who mirrored my own experience of reinventing a career later in life.

It was during this period that I realized my profound passion for teaching had been dormant for too long. I applied and was hired for a Facilitator position in January 2022.

As a Facilitator, my day-to-day experiences mirror my time as a teacher. I’m facilitating classroom learning, team meetings, online trainings, hands-on labs and more. My passion for education and my experience in the classroom created a transferrable skillset to my corporate role. It’s really encouraging to be able to use the strengths I cultivated over 10 years, and pair them with the new skills I’ve learned since joining Spectrum.

Q: We’re sure every day is different but tell us what a typical day looks like for you.

A: On a typical day, you can find me at my desk prepping for my new hire class. Since every participant comes into the classroom with their unique experiences, every class is different.

In the morning, I am tailoring the curriculum to meet the specific needs of the class. At 10:45, I am in the classroom, with music playing, waiting for the participants to arrive. There is so much excitement in a new hire classroom. You have no idea where the class could go, or who will be sitting in it. One of my students could be my next boss, or a future leader. Spectrum is a place where you can create a lasting career, and new hires can feel that.

I find a lot of fulfillment in motivating and building up participants. Keeping them engaged with the curriculum and knowing how to support participants’ learning styles with various delivery methods is key. When people feel involved and supported, they are more likely to succeed.

Spectrum’s training is thorough and designed to coach learners on specific skills within a role, process, or system. As a Facilitator, I feel that Spectrum equips participants with the tools and resources they need to develop the skills required for the role. It’s my job to ensure the training is delivered in a way that resonates with the learners so they can be effective once they leave the classroom.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is wanting to make a major career change, like you did?

  1. A: So many thoughts come to mind with this question. But I think I can narrow it down to three tips. Don’t wait until you feel ready, just do it. Once you do it, give it your all. I had the determination to succeed, I made sure I knew the ins and outs of the role, and I constantly put myself out there. Continuing to always be a good employee was all I had left to do.
  2. Join a group or organization at work. I am in three of our Business Resource Groups: Spectrum Disability, Spectrum Multicultural and Spectrum Women. Spectrum Women, for example, helped me understand that many people have gaps in their careers, and that it’s okay to come back and start over. Most of the women in the seminars I attend are my age.
  3. Be patient with yourself. It was humbling in the beginning, starting from the bottom again, and I remember feeling down. I had to constantly show myself compassion as I was trying to get used to a corporate environment and get acclimated to new technology. I remember I was one of the oldest participants in my new hire class, which highlighted where my skills lacked. However, I was continually encouraged by Facilitators and Supervisors, as they reminded me that other students had made major career changes, just as I was doing.

Are you ready to make a transition in your career, like Kathleen did? Explore our open roles today:

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