Artur Karpiński details his journey from being an entrepreneur to joining SUSO and becoming a Senior Account Manager within a year.
From an Entrepreneur to an Account Manager at SUSO
Author: Artur Karpinski, Account Manager
Sometimes little things make a difference for a company when it’s looking for an appropriate person for an open position. There are moments when taking a gamble by hiring someone without any experience in the industry really does pay off. However, it takes an extraordinary recruiter to notice a chance where others may see a warning. That was my situation and my only hope when I applied for a job at SUSO in the middle of the COVID pandemic back in the gloomy winter of 2021.
Jack of All Trades
I’ve done a lot of things in life, including translation, content writing, journalism, radio DJ-ing, even working as an insurance agent for a little while, but mainly I taught English. Although it was quite an easy and satisfying job, it was also a dead-end one – without any room for professional development or a chance to earn good money. In 2015 I decided to develop my own business. Together with my two friends – homebrewers like myself – we started a company that soon became one of the most recognisable brands in its niche – craft beer – in Poland, and was slowly expanding internationally.
Unfortunately, the market trends started turning in a direction that was not compatible with our vision and our goals. Then COVID struck and the government decided to shut down businesses without any consideration for obsolete ideas like personal liberty or freedom of choice. To be frank, it only accelerated the changes in the market which had started before the pandemic. So there I was, standing at the crossroads, having to choose: to conform or to scale down and look for other opportunities.
School of Hard Knocks
Being a non-conformist and a maverick, who always goes his own way, I decided to quit my career in teaching altogether (which I was still perpetuating parallelly to my business) and – together with my business partners – we made a decision to scale down our enterprise and let it roll a bit by its own momentum, treating it more like an after-hours hobby since then. Meanwhile, I started thinking about my own professional future and prospective endeavours.
It’s not easy to find a job when you’ve never been employed full-time and you have no experience in the industry. How does a perennial freelancer become a part of a team? How does someone with an entrepreneurial background fit into the framework of a company that’s not his own? That’s when the quality of a good recruitment process shows. I’ve met dozens of HR professionals in my life. Most of them rejected me simply for those reasons: no strictly relevant experience. I definitely wasn’t a model candidate they probably teach about on recruitment courses.
A New Hope
Then I saw an offer from SUSO and I decided to apply. The company was looking for an Account Manager in the field of SEO. I’ve worked with clients for the previous six years in my own company and I’ve worked with people for over a decade. I had good English and quite a lot of interest in computers and technology – also running a couple of my own websites and social media profiles.
However, I had no idea about typical processes that everyone who has ever worked in a corporate or even a startup environment knows by heart. I never had to report anything to anyone before. I’ve never read a single SOP. The thing is – I’m a quick learner who is very interested in the surrounding world.
Of course – why should anyone believe my words, right? I felt as if I were in an infinite loop of others’ linear thinking – and the only way out was to meet someone who could think outside the box.
The Judgement Day
That is exactly who I found at SUSO. My first interview with Agnieszka was very friendly and I immediately knew I was talking to a person who would not cross me off the list because I didn’t meet all the bulletpoints. She was someone who had the ability to look beneath the rigid framework. I remember that after the first call Aga told me she didn’t like storytellers, but that I was the exception. I will be forever grateful for her trust – just like Rafal’s, who was the second person I had an interview with.
Rafal was the COO at SUSO at that time and took a huge gamble on me, as – again – I lacked industry-related experience. But he saw some potential in me. Hiring me was not an easy decision – more like signing a teenage wonderkid on a Football Manager game that you need to mentor and train to make him shine. Only I was not a teenage wonderkid anymore, but more like an experienced journeyman with a challenging personality and a temper of Zlatan Ibrahimović. Still, I hope neither of them regrets the decision.
A New Beginning
I joined SUSO in March 2021 as an Account Manager and I was marvelled by the professionalism and care the employees are treated with. There was an in-depth onboarding process designed, whose aim was to make Magda’s – my twin colleague – and my start as seamless as possible. I had an office angel assigned – David – who would help me with anything I didn’t understand and support me whenever I felt lost.
To me this was a whole new experience. Soon I met my direct supervisor as well as Will – the CEO and Rad – the CTO. What I really loved about these first weeks at SUSO was the warm, friendly atmosphere of a company that is definitely different from the corporate memes you can find on the Internet.
After a couple of weeks I got my first clients and the real work began. It was stressful sometimes, especially when I was faced with technical questions or issues I was unable to deal with on my own. Fortunately I had, and I still have, a whole team of wonderful people around me, who are always willing to help. The responsibilities at SUSO are clearly divided and I always know who to go to when I need assistance or if I have a new “brilliant” idea that I have to share with everyone.
My First Year
A year passed very quickly. The company went through some personnel and structural changes, but I always felt I could count on our team, as well as both on the direct and senior management. Although I’m a natural-born sceptic when it comes to social benefits and values that companies often boast about – I can honestly say that SUSO really lives up to its words.
Whenever I needed support, or a break, or when there was a problem that needed an urgent solution, I could feel that the people-first culture, which SUSO proudly manifests, is not only a mere slogan, but a real core value of the company. Although working with clients in a dynamic environment, when things don’t always depend on you, can be challenging, I know I’m in a place with people that care.
After a year of working at SUSO I was promoted to a Senior Account Manager position, which means I now manage most of the key clients of the company. It’s a huge responsibility, but I am doing my best to fit in these shoes.
As everyone, I sometimes suffer from impostor syndrome, but I know that with a strong will, ambition, passion and support from superiors – the sky’s the limit. The company also allows me to choose the path of my professional development and happily invest in my training. I am now also involved in mentoring others and I always try to lend a helping hand when someone is in need of assistance. Holding a senior position, I also try to support the management with process creation and I’m always ready to talk about new ideas on how to improve things.
Wherever I May Roam
So here I am – where I never thought I would be five years ago – and I’m so happy about it. What’s the moral of my story then? I think it’s that life can sometimes surprise you in a positive way – even if you’re cynical and disgruntled by the world around you. You can always find people who will see in you what others fail to see. You also have friends – like my mates from the Football Manager scene who helped me compose a decent resume and motivated me to make changes in my life. So – as banal as it may sound – never give up, there’s always hope for better days.
I don’t know where I’ll be in five, ten or twenty years. Maybe here at SUSO, or maybe I’ll become a shepherd in the Faroe Islands or I will live off my Bitcoins on the Moon. Whatever life brings, I will always be grateful to SUSO for giving me the chance. It’s a great place to be.
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