My Next Chapter

As of today’s writing I have accepted a Product Manager position overseeing multi-item shopping trips with Expedia.  My last day at Discover is tomorrow.

This is both an exciting and terrifying move for me.  It is exciting because I have been afforded this great opportunity with an amazing organization.  It terrifies me because I have only known Discover in my professional career.

As an undergrad student, I interned at Discover between my junior and senior year at Michigan State University.  I built a foundation for my professional skill set and learned about what it means to work in a corporate environment.  More importantly, I made strong, lasting connections with others that have been with me to this day.  Some of those connections built during my internship have turned into, what I believe will be, lifelong friendships.  

I returned to Discover after graduation to enter their Marketing Leadership Program.  This provided me with a great chance to try new things, explore my personal interests, and be pushed all at the same time.  It opened up a wide network of alumni from Michigan State and the Marketing Leadership Program, both of which are amongst the reasons I stuck around for as long as I did.

“Everything is great, why are you leaving?”

I’ve had the opportunity to work on some really cool projects.  I’ve developed integrated, relevant email campaigns.  I launched a mobile wallet platform for Discover Deals.  And I’ve assisted in the J.D. Power Award Winning (3-peat!) digital user experience through work on projects that touched multiple parts of the business.  This was all incredible.

So why am I leaving?  What led me to this point is my desire to explore the world and see what else is out there.  There are tons of exceptional opportunities available at Discover, but for me, right now, I need to understand what else is available.  I want to learn about different mindsets and ideologies.  I want to meet people with different backgrounds and skill sets who communicate in ways I have not experienced before.  I want to learn a different company culture.  I want to explore a new industry.  Due to my familiarity and comfort at Discover, I will not be able to push myself in those ways.

I have a lifelong goal of being an entrepreneur and owning my own business.  Had I stayed at Discover for an extended period of time, I would have Discover ideologies and methodologies ingrained in me.  By going to a new company, I will be able to see a different way of thinking and doing.  This will help me when my time comes to run my own business as it will provide me the tools necessary to make educated, well-rounded decisions using a variety of perspectives.

Yes, I am leaving when things are great.  I have a great manager, great company mentors, and am working on great projects.  But, to me, the best time to leave is when things are great.  It is like the “buy low, sell high” methodology used in the stock markets.  I am “selling high.”  

Leaving on good terms

When I talked to my VP to inform him I’d be leaving he said to me: “let’s remain friends.”  This shows a lot about Discover’s culture of facilitating collaboration and making strong connections with your colleagues.  I am grateful to have this opportunity to stay in good contact with the people I’ve worked with and to keep the door open at Discover should I have interest in returning sometime in the future.

Discover has been nothing but wonderful to me.  From the first day as an intern I knew it was a great place to work.  And on my last day, which will be full of reminiscence, and beyond it will remain a fantastic place to work.  Because of this, I am leaving, respectfully, on good terms.  I am proud to say that I have worked at Discover Financial Services and wish the best of luck to the company and my former colleagues and friends that will continue to work there.

What’s next?

On Monday I will do my first commute to Expedia’s downtown Chicago office in Ogilvie Station.  I will begin working to understand the travel industry and how users behave and operate when booking travel.  I am excited to meet the great people at Expedia and work alongside my new manager and team. I am most excited to be tackling the problem of explaining to users the savings they can gain when using the multi-item shopping experience.  How do I communicate the savings?  How is it presented to the user?  These are the types of questions I’m looking forward to addressing.  This is going to be a great, new challenge for me and I can’t wait to get started.

Cheers,

Steve