Brandon – From Passion for Polymers to Savvy at Sales

Brandon – From Passion for Polymers to Savvy at Sales

#11 - Brandon was always good at chemistry and had plans to invent new materials after getting a university chemistry degree. But as university wrapped up, he realized that he did not want a future filled with lab work, so what to do? His university experience gave him the skills and the drive to work with people, so after some deep reflection, he decided a job in sales would make him happy. Utilizing the Wilfrid Laurier University Career Centre, he found a local start-up that seemed like a great fit. After gaining experience with the start-up, he was ready to move on and work towards his goal of being an Account Executive at Desire 2 Learn.  Was it an easy path in getting to his desired destination? Listen to Brandon’s story to find out.

The transcript for this interview is A.I generated and may not be 100% accurate.

Transcript
Jonathan Collaton:

Good morning, good afternoon or good evening and welcome to career crossroads. I'm your host, Jonathan Collaton. And this is my podcast where I talk to one person each week to find out how they ended up on their current career path. This week's guest is Brandon, an old buddy from university who I haven't spoken to in quite a few years. One of the really nice things about starting this podcast has been being able to reconnect with people like him who want to contribute to the mission of career crossroads, and help people realize that we're all just figuring this out as we go. One of the things I did want to mention this week before we get into the interview is that this episode of career Crossroads has transcripts. And you can find the transcripts on career Crossroads podcast.com. And one of the advantages of transcripts are that if you know someone who is hearing impaired, and they can't listen to this podcast, you can direct them there. And they can read along. It's not 100% accurate, they say it's about 95% accurate, but it will give you a pretty good idea of what's going on in the conversation. And one of the extra additions to that is that later on after you've listened, if there's something that you wanted to go back and try and remember where exactly it was in the conversation. The transcripts have timestamps. So to give you an approximate idea of where in the Convo it was. But that's enough for now. So enjoy the interview and stick around at the end for a few more thoughts from me. Brandon, buddy, good to have you here.

Brandon Mullen:

Hey, great to be here. Thanks for having me.

Jonathan Collaton:

I'm so excited. You're here because you were one of the people who reached out to me the day I posted episode one. And you were like, I want to be on this, please interview me. And I said I'd be happy to this is great. I'm so glad you came.

Brandon Mullen:

Yeah, it, I think there's something near and dear to my heart. So when I saw you post about it, ultimately, I was kind of figuring out my own career path. Really resonated with me, I think I've been through a lot of crossroads,

many times:

high school, university, graduating, even moving from one career to the next or, you know, one job to the next. So if there's something that I can hopefully share from this and give back to people who might have been in a similar situation, that's hoping to accomplish that it's so fantastic.

Jonathan Collaton:

Now, that's great. That's what I'm hoping I'm hoping people will listen to this and figure out that, like, a lot of us didn't know what we were doing and had to spend time to figure it out. It's not just, you know, you can look at people in the media and just figure like, how did they just they knew exactly what they were going to do. But that's not everyone. It's I don't know if it's a most people certainly isn't me sounds like it's not you. And hopefully at the end of this year, I'll have interviewed a lot of people who are in similar situations. So I also wanted to point out early on here that while I keep interviewing all these people who I played volleyball with, you and me, played ball hockey together back in the day.

Brandon Mullen:

Yes sir

Jonathan Collaton:

And that was our sport, and with a bunch of the Collaton and family was on that team,

Brandon Mullen:

The Collaton clan.

Jonathan Collaton:

Absolutely. We had a great. I don't know how good we were. I don't remember, but we had fun.

Brandon Mullen:

You know what I think? Yeah, I think we had fun. That's the best the best way to put us right? We definitely weren't the best out there. But I know we had some great games, we put up some great numbers. And if it wasn't for our boy, Tyler brush, yeah, no free advertisements. But Tyler, he was definitely carrying the team there. But no, we had some great times. I think one of the most memorable things for me is with you putting the team together, we were called the replacements. Oh, yeah. And you had this C, and everyone else had the A. And so I thought that was absolutely hilarious. So if that isn't indicative of the fun time that we had, and I don't know what is

Jonathan Collaton:

perfect. All right, well, let's talk about what it was like before I knew you. And so let's go back to when you were in high school. 15 1617 years old. What do you like, what influences you? Where are you from

Brandon Mullen:

16 years old. From Brampton, Ontario. I was going to high school, Cardinal AJ, which is in downtown Brampton. And I was, you know, I was into a lot of different things. I think this is an aspect of myself that I really appreciate but also causes me a lot of a lot of trouble. Especially when thinking about what I want to do in life is I enjoy little parts of everything. jack of all trades, master of none. I'm working on becoming a master of some aspects of my life. But ultimately, I love video games. So you know, I got in with people who played video games World of Warcraft being a staple at the time.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh man, I played a demo of Warcraft at some point University and remember, they used to give it like a 10 day because they knew they would hook you in 10 days. So you could play for 10 days for free. And I got like three days in and I'd played 10 hours. I was like I need to stop this. This will ruin my life. I can't keep playing this.

Brandon Mullen:

You're one of the few who had that realization. I think most of the people like myself were sucked in from that point. So I played that game. But at the same time, I also was very active in sports. So I played a rep hockey through B YHA the Brampton youth Hockey Association. I play travel hockey, so you know, played up into the A level of hockey for myself, and not a big deal. But

Jonathan Collaton:

House league go over here.

Brandon Mullen:

For for me, that was a big component of my life. So there was video games, there was sports, there was music, I was also in a band for a little bit. Not a very good band. So I won't talk too much about that. But I took grade 10 guitar, I found a love for the bass. And so I played the I was never exceptional in the bass, but I played it. And then I loved a myriad of other things, you know, camping in nature with my family, board games, things like that. Were always a blast. So the influences were from all over it, I guess, is where I'm going with this point, there is nothing I think that I really knew about myself at that time, or even still no today to say that this is a major influence in my life. There's so many aspects in interest that I continue to experience that influenced me in a variety of different ways.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, so as you come towards the end of high school, everybody starts to get that question about what are you going to do next? And so what was the plan? And why was that the plan?

Brandon Mullen:

Yeah, what was the plan? And why was that the plan? So to answer that question, there was no plan. Okay. And I think that was the scariest element. So a lot I you know, and I go back to that influence component, there was a lot of things that I love to do in my life. I love to cook, I thought I was going to be a chef, I realized maybe I didn't have the work ethic for for that aspect. I'd love to argue, I thought maybe it was going to be a lawyer, again, the work ethic aspect, maybe I didn't want to go to law school. So for me, there's never been a real career path. And I think as scary as it's been, it's also been a really exciting component. So what I did realize was to follow my interests. And my interest in high school was science, most specifically chemistry, I realized that kind of gave me a lot of challenge, but also excitement and kind of learning about the things of you no matter what made up the stuff that we touch, or eat or smell in. So I really explored that passion a lot. And I realized, okay, I don't know what I want to do. As a career. I don't want to be a doctor. I don't. I don't have other kind of real science aspirations. But I knew that I really enjoyed chemistry. So I was like, You know what, let's go for it. This is the degree that I'm going to get. Okay. And that was the plan without really having a plan, following the interests and letting that kind of guide me, although I wish maybe I would have had a little bit more of a structured plan.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, well, it happens to a lot of people, right. So, so I know that you obviously with chemistry, you end up University is the pathway for that. And so I know that you picked Wilfrid Laurier University, because that is where we met. And that is where we played ball hockey. But why why Laurier?

Brandon Mullen:

Great question. Why Laurier is so I did a campus tour of Laurier. And I think, you know, on on podcasts, episodes before, there was some elements of people going on tours, some elements of not. I did two tours, I got accepted into two schools. Ryerson and Laurier. And I had also applied to Waterloo. And I didn't necessarily have I think the I think it was a calculus marks to back up getting in there. So anyways, I went, I went to tour. Ryerson and I, I always thought I was gonna live in Toronto, I thought, that's where my mom and dad thought I was gonna, you know, be. I thought that's where I was gonna be. And I took a tour of the Ryerson campus. And as great and beautiful as trato is, I didn't necessarily know where the campus started in where it stopped in. So for high school grad, you know, trying to figure out his way in the world that was a little intimidating for me. I mean, growing up, a lot of my hesitations were, I couldn't I couldn't pick up the phone to make a dentist appointment. Now, that's definitely not me today. I'll pick up the phone and call people to try and get in the line and sell things of course, in the nature of my career today, but I was very intimidated, I think by the prospect of not knowing where the school was, or you know where it started because it is so immersed in the city. And I took a tour of Laurier and really how much more specific can you get in terms of a campus No kidding, you know, one block by one block. That's right. And you're golden, right? So I really enjoyed that I felt it was a second home. And that really solidified itself when I went to take a campus tour, and then even more so when I did the headstart program. So I actually got to see the inner workings of chemistry, the chemistry program at Laurier , I got to experience some of the lab component they did us through a little bit of a walk through there. So I knew what I was getting into. Were at the Ryerson tour, they really focused on what that school was known for, which is more of the the media, yeah, in the arts, in television, and things of that nature. So I even though they touched on my, you know, chemistry, buildings and science buildings, and they didn't necessarily talk about the program. And so I really felt that, okay, this wasn't maybe a school where I was going to get the best education, maybe not education, but more focus on on on the program itself. So Laurier, actually, maybe not known for the sciences. Really did solidify that when I went on the tour. So it was good.

Jonathan Collaton:

I'm agreeing with you, as you're saying this. I'm like, Oh, yeah, that'd be massively different tours, Laurier verse Ryerson but I can appreciate what you're talking about, because I'm from Toronto. And I didn't even apply to any of the downtown Toronto schools. But when it was the tour at Laurier, that sold it for me it was I just thought this place feels like home. And so that's what caused me to pick it as well. So you get into first year at Laurier. What's it like? Are you Was it a good decision? Did you have any regrets early on? Was the program right? Was the culture right?

Brandon Mullen:

Yeah, these are great questions, I think, instantly an amazing fit. I had what is arguably one of my favorite years, Laurier was first year, it's where I met a lot of amazing people, friends that I still keep in touch with today. Even people that I lived with, you know, throughout the remainder of my years were moving off campus, it was definitely the right fit for me. And I think first year was so generalized in the aspects of the program that I didn't really truly didn't really, truly, I didn't really realize until later on, in my degree, what the benefit was or where the distinction was in some of the elements of the program between biochemistry, biology, physics, you really get a lot more in depth. So the program didn't necessarily play a huge play on you know what I thought about going to Laurie, in my first year, it was more of the experience, or orientation week was huge. I talked about that, you know, kind of scared a little kid that I was not being able to make a dentist appointment. The orientation week really set me out of my shell. And it also helped me meet one of my, you know, best friends. You know, Kyle Simpson, and it was through my icebreaker. Ian, who had basically said, you know, I'm going to introduce and start a conversation with these two guys that don't know each other. And from there, it really made me feel comfortable about meeting other people. Because I think what was interesting is that for a lot of other people on my floor, they were coming here from high schools that had other graduating classmates that were attending the same university. So I didn't have that. I didn't know anyone and through some of those experiences of not only just first year in general, but with my icebreaker orientation week getting out of my shell and realizing that I could and meet other people and grow relationships that that was what solidified that it was the right choice for me, in that kind of that theme followed out through the rest of my Laurier experience. All right, yeah.

Jonathan Collaton:

So I definitely know that I have to imagine it was that experience that led you to do things like getting involved in some of the extracurriculars you would have been involved in through your time? So, you know, can you tell me a bit about whether or not those things you got involved in influenced kind of the direction you ended up in after university or in the later part of university? And and also was the program as you did go on you? You said it kind of got more specialized. So which of those specialties did you end up? Kind of resonating with?

Brandon Mullen:

Yeah, yeah. So. So I'll talk about the chemistry aspect first. Sure. Because ultimately, that's why I went to school. Yeah, you know, I thought, this is going to be where I had in my career. I am going to do something chemistry related. I'm going to be a scientist. I'm going to do something with this degree. I didn't know exactly what. And so. From there, I started to notice a couple of things that I liked about it. I really liked the materials aspect, understanding You know, like this table that's in this boardroom right now, what is it composed of, at a molecular level. And so some of that stuff like really, I got almost existential on and nerded out about quite a bit. And I thought ultimately, like, this is where I was going to go was into materials chemistry, I was going to create things I was gonna, you know, get into a lab and synthesize new things, whether that was flavors or smells, or, you know, materials and plastics. And I was into polymers for for a little bit nerding out on that kind of stuff.

Jonathan Collaton:

I've never heard anyone say to me, they were into polymers before. So that's cool.

Brandon Mullen:

I'm one of the few I'm sure. And I'm sure, the other classmates that I was going through the degree with probably nerded out about some of those things, too. So hopefully, I'm not alone. But I, I kind of had this other side of me, as I was going through the program and exploring my interest in chemistry, it was also exploring my interests in social aspects. We go back to that instant meaning of a lifelong friendship, I hope, you know, through that my icebreaker and with my floor mates and friends and understanding that people come from so many different backgrounds and stories, there was this other part of me that was in the extracurriculars that brought me to a more of an understanding of where I wanted to go with my career than what I was actually doing through my program. And so the extracurriculars that I was involved in was orientation week icebreaker, I felt really passionately about giving the same experience that I had back to the students that were coming in. I was also involved in student ambassador for a little bit at Laurier. So giving tours, and also going to the Ontario University fair and talking about my program and why I picked it again, hoping that I could learn from others and also share my story. There was, you know, some of the recreational activities where I was getting to meet, you know, guys like you and other people through through sport. I also did intramural soccer. So that was really fun. We had a little bit better team than we did. We were able to actually win the division, which

Jonathan Collaton:

not even a shot at me, I know, we weren't great. But you know,

Brandon Mullen:

a couple more practices. I'm sure when I got there.

Jonathan Collaton:

I wasn't hard enough on the team,

Brandon Mullen:

You were't Pitt, but hey, we won't place the blame on you at all her team at the end of the day, right. But it was those activities, interests in the social dynamics, that helped me understand what I wanted to get out of my career and in life, was meeting other people learning their stories, getting to interact with them, and in such a way that you were either helping them or supporting them, or guiding them, or vice versa, they were doing that for you. So that you can in turn, give back to others. And that's what's that is what really informed my career path. It In a sense, really helped me understand that I didn't want to do chemistry for the rest of my life. And what helped me understand that even more is when I did my undergrad thesis in chemical education, which was not necessarily being in a lab, it was more psychology based. So going back to that component of the human psyche. How do students learn in in kind of going through what was called a term that we were studying called metacognition, knowing what you know, and knowing that you know it. So even though I did a thesis that was a little bit more rooted in the human element, I knew that I didn't want to continue my path in chemistry anymore.

Jonathan Collaton:

That's that's got to be tough. Right? At the end. It was I mean, it's like you said, You started to figure it out as you go. But as you're wrapping up your degree, and you've This is what the major is, and this is what it's going to say on your degree when you're done. And more importantly, than what it says, what you studied and what you've learned, and what you're going to be able to show employers that you are a relative expert in all the sudden that's not what you want anymore. Yeah, yeah,

Brandon Mullen:

it was it was crazy. And I, you know, it's been a theme. Through my whole life. It was a theme in high school, you know, what is my interest? And where am I going? And sometimes I wish I was a little bit more structured, like my peers were in their plans and their goals that they were, you know, reaching towards, I think one of the things I've learned to do in my, my young adult life and in my young adult careers is structuring a little bit more, you know, putting a little bit of a vision and goal 510 years out, where do I want to be in what do I want to do and how do I get to those next things? But yeah, at the end of my degree, I really understood that my interests were no longer in my power. Question was no longer in chemistry in that field. And it was more in the human element human interaction helping supporting in solving problems or challenges. You know, where do I go to school? What program? Do I take challenges like that, that I really realized? Okay, I want to be doing something a little bit more than chemistry.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. Okay. So I mean, knowing that, what do you do? Like, you know, you graduate at the end of April or whatever? One question. Yeah, most people at the end of April, you're done school. And I know, for me, like I was looking for work right away in the field, I was interested in some people and, you know, spending time traveling and just go back to their summer job. Some people go and do a certificate program at a college or another one year program.

Brandon Mullen:

But what do you do? What do I do? This is a thought that kept me up late at night, as I'm channeling you right now, as it does many people, you know, what do you do, and I think ultimately, at that age, and coming to the end of my chemistry degree, and realizing that I was no longer passionate about polymers, I had to figure out,

Jonathan Collaton:

you're giving me so many title options for this episode right now, like passionate about polymers, I've got so many options already.

Brandon Mullen:

That's what I'm here for. But ultimately, I realized, I think I'm doing myself a little bit a disservice if I'm not trying to find a job that interests me in my field of study. Okay, so I realized that, you know, I might not be an academic, I might not be the next PhD winning a Nobel Prize, or inventing the next cool material or sustainable material for generations to come. But I realized that I spent so much time in my degree and doing things in my degree that I had to have some sort of job related skills. And I think, had I known this a little bit more in high school, I probably would have watched out for it a little bit more is that so you're told, so often, the way for you to get a good job is to get a university degree. Yeah. But I love Oh, I kind of it's a love hate relationship right now that I'm exploring with. But I love the practicality that, you know, is the college degrees, the the hands on experience that you get. And so I hate that I didn't necessarily explore those things, because I thought University was going to get me the dream job that I wanted. But realizing that university is more about advancing the academic field than it is about getting the job that you want, maybe I would have made some different choices, then to study

Jonathan Collaton:

You know, I can totally agree with the chemistry. concept that I think a lot of people, me included, don't think about it, and you just go to university. And because like you said, that's the pet, you're told, that's the path. And increasingly so. And it's funny, you brought this up, because this is the conversation that was gonna happen in the episode that comes out tomorrow that you haven't heard yet, but the same thing came up that colleges are an increasingly viable option for a large variety of things right into high school, that a lot of people would be happier or better off, if they took some of those programs, because of what it would offer them instead of what you're saying, which is you could go and advanced the academic side of science, but maybe not totally be prepared for whatever jobs are available right out of university. And I mean, I have an Arts degree in history and Canadian Studies, and I thought I had ways to maybe put the particularly the Canadian Studies portion of that to us. But the history side, I remember thinking in my last year, the people who were in my class, and I thought you all want to be curators, or go get a Masters and PhD and like, that wasn't me. And so I knew that. Okay, the degree is valuable, because I have a degree, but it's not leading me to any specific career.

Brandon Mullen:

Exactly. And so stemming off of that point that you just made, the the degree is valuable, because you have a degree, but what I really had to do was turn, you know, into myself and think about what job related skills did I get with my degree? And how do I identify those and then, you know, pull them out, and put them into my resume, put them into my cover letters, and ultimately helped shape where I want to go with my career in what field I want to get into. So, a little bit of a long story to kind of answer the question, but ultimately, what do I do was okay, what skills do I have or what did I get from my degree? And how do I apply that to a job? And what do I like to do and how do I apply that to the job and so what I realized by taking that thought process was alright, no matter what I do I want to work with people. And I want to solve challenges. And what was the best way for me to do that I kind of navigated towards sales. You know, how do you get in front of more people than trying to sell things to people?

Jonathan Collaton:

Right? For sure.

Brandon Mullen:

It's I think that was, that was a no brainer. And then I was kind of like, okay, no, well, what do I sell? And so I, I realized, okay, I have to use my degree, or I want to get into the field of study that my degree was in. So I land on this small startup called PNP optica. And what do they sell? They sell chemistry lab equipment, most specifically, spectrometers or optical spectrometers. Now, that's probably going to mean nothing to no one.

Jonathan Collaton:

No, but can you make polymers using those things?

Brandon Mullen:

No you can't, but you can identify some really cool things using light and reading the chemical signatures that light interacts with bounces back? Well, it's probably a whole nother podcast episode, just to kind of explain the nuances there.

Jonathan Collaton:

Stay tuned for my science podcast, you're the first guest

Brandon Mullen:

The spin off. But ultimately, I was like, Okay, got to use my degree, I want to sell, interact with people. And the skill set that I developed was my ability to research, you know, my ability to be detail oriented through paper writing, critical thinking, you know, problem solving, and then the communication skills that I developed from, you know, working as a student ambassador and things of that nature. So, really, I took this this hodgepodge of a list, put it together and landed on, I'm going to be a sales guy in chemistry at a chemistry analytical company called PNP. optica. Startup told people when I, when I started 20 people when I left, and that's, that's that was my plan was that's how I got there.

Jonathan Collaton:

Okay, so what's the process? Like for somebody who's never like myself, I've never tried to work for a startup. I've always worked at big universities, big institutions. So what's it like with a startup? Is it? Are you just getting poached? Because a friend of a friend knows you? Or is there like an online job postings? How do you find a job like that?

Brandon Mullen:

Yeah, great question. So amidst all of this internal kind of on top of the mountain, looking deep into my soul, and understanding what did I get from my degree was going to the Lord a Career Center, which is a lot more practical, and they kind of helped me navigate that. So I saw this listing on the, the alumni job portal. And so I reached out and I go for an interview. And this is where I kind of love the fact that I stayed in K Kitchener Waterloo, and how the alumni network works, there is my boss, who is the VP of Sales was actually a Laurier a chemistry grad. There you go. And so right then in there, I kind of this light shone down and, you know, I, I realized, like, this is a practical job route for me with my degree, and it's not a waste, and it's not for not, so I was pretty pumped on that. And I think ultimately, it allowed me to, you know, get a job that gave me a lot of experience. And what's it like working at a startup? You were 3600 hats. It Yeah, it's insane. It's so amazing, the opportunities that you're given when working at a startup. But I would say that startups are for some people and not for others. I've had the opportunity to work at a startup 12 person company, and I've had the opportunity to work now in my current job at an 800 plus person company. So you can imagine the resourcing between the two is quite different in the career pathing between the two is very different. So at the startup, I was working as inside sales guy selling to professors at different universities, the analytical equipment that I'd used in my undergrad. I was, you know, marketer, I was Website Builder. I was shipper I was, you know, the list goes on and on. Yeah, as a product tester. So I'm forever grateful for the opportunity, the experience that I got from working at a startup, but I realized a couple years into the gig, that I was a little bit more on the other side of the spectrum, that startup may have not been for me. And so that's where I kind of had my my jumping point and my tipping point,

Jonathan Collaton:

okay, and because I have to imagine, given everything you've explained about the degree you had and what you wanted out of a job, suddenly having to do marketing and build a website and ship things is not really what you are planning on and you have to there's some of that I'm sure you just pick it up on the fly like there's everybody's done it before. You know the phrase fake it till you make If you're just like, yeah, I can market? Sure I'll figure it out. But if that's not really what you want, it's not that fun to scramble and learn how to do something.

Brandon Mullen:

No, it's not. And I think one of the biggest things that you can do is be as proactive as you can in your own development in asking for help. So I decided to ask, you know, my boss, is there an opportunity for me to take a course that maybe is subsidized by the company, because ultimately, it's gonna help me do my job better. That you know, that I could go take. So I ended up taking a marketing and business writing course through conosco college online, that helped me understand some of the principles around that. It made me feel less scrambly. So as much as I was wearing so many different hats, I asked for help. And it allowed me to further pad my resume and develop my skill set. But ultimately, it It provided the company with value because now their employee was better at this area that maybe they didn't necessarily tend to have. Right. But now I was doing for better or for worse, and and hopefully for better after taking that course. And

Jonathan Collaton:

certainly, because obviously the company wants to get some value out of it. Yeah, what I'm hearing from you is stuff that I've seen, certainly in my field of work, and I definitely hear it from other friends too, that just because your degree is done, that doesn't mean the learning is over, right, but you're gonna jump into a job and increasingly more now, maybe than ever, and maybe I'm just way off in this, because I don't have the hindsight of what was life like in the 80s or before. But, but I imagine with some of the very, some of the ways that companies run these days, like startups, for example. And with the just mass number of types of roles out there, you've you've got to keep learning and adapting your skill set in order to continue to find a niche that's going to work for you. And it's a common thing that employers will cover costs for extra learning. And if that's something you're really passionate about, and your employer is not doing that, then go find an employer who will because they're out there.

Brandon Mullen:

Mm hmm. 100% I think, I think, especially as a new grad coming into a new job you may not necessarily know to ask. Definitely. Yeah. And so I think one of the biggest things and one of the biggest life learning lessons for me and and I never realized the little certificate I got in high school from my grade nine science teacher for asking so many questions was ever going to come back. But ask questions, be curious. And you never know where it's gonna take you. And it definitely took me to the opportunity to learn more, grow more, and like you said, You never stop learning. I even I'm learning today in my current role, which was ultimately the goal that I had been working to so so. I want to say passionately, over the the five years since graduating from wallets, I think it's maybe like six to seven. And a

Jonathan Collaton:

certain point you lose track.

Brandon Mullen:

Yeah, we really do.

Jonathan Collaton:

And this is the year 2020. It feels like it's been three years this year. So it's

Brandon Mullen:

all in one.

Jonathan Collaton:

It's been a long year.

Brandon Mullen:

Yeah. So ultimately, that, that length of time I, you know, I'm still kind of, you know, learning and trying to figure out but but work so passionately lead to where I am now that I'm learning to figure out, you know, what's my next step? Where do I go from here, but also being comfortable with maybe the learnings on pause for right now, in terms of the next step, but learning in how to do the best in my current role?

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, I can totally agree that there are definitely points where you just want to enjoy what you have and enjoy what you've worked towards. And that doesn't mean that you're never going to be this ambitious person who's going to continue to try and learn new things. But there I definitely can empathize and would encourage people like enjoy the fruits of your labor, if you've worked really hard to get to something that you wanted, sit back and enjoy it. And you know, it's that's I've had points in my life where I certainly did that. And then some point later, the ambition shows up again, and now I'm trying to do a podcast. So like things come in cycles. It's not it's not a constant. I wonder if, like the media has done a really terrible disservice by teaching people that as soon as you're 30, and you're you get married, you have kids, and you're boring. That's not the way that things work at all. No, no, you can continue to try and learn new things and switch careers and not everything is like a sitcom. It doesn't work that way. So So anyway, for you. The startup wasn't exactly the right fit for you long term. So you said the company got to about 20 People. But for you, what was the exact reason when you what was the kind of catalyst for leaving? Was it because something else just spectacular came along? or What happened?

Brandon Mullen:

The question might be phrased, what was my career Crossroads?

Jonathan Collaton:

Yes, yeah, absolutely throw that keyword in everywhere we can.

Brandon Mullen:

Just toss it in there. But yeah, I realized the company took a huge pivot, I had been brought on to sell something, and then it It took a big pivot into, they were now completely tackling a different market. So they were leveraging the technology that it was selling the hardware that I was selling into a new component where they were now selling a food processing equipment. So very exciting. Yeah, for them. I didn't know that, you know, my career was going to take me through not only just working at a company, but working in a company that took a major market shift from focusing on selling to university professors to taking their core technology and selling it to the major food processors of the world for inline for material detection using that that chemistry component. So it was very cool from a educational aspect. I understood it, I nerded out about it. I loved it. But I realized I was going to be someone selling manufacturing equipment into the food processing space, if I didn't make a change.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, that's a Yeah, you go from working with professors selling equipment to them to selling equipment to craft and Christie and stuff like that.

Brandon Mullen:

Exactly.

Jonathan Collaton:

Certainly different.

Brandon Mullen:

It was incredibly different. And it was exciting. It was a pivotal time for the company. And I was proud to be a part of it. I learned so much because my job yet shifted again, I was now I was now lab tester I was helping essentially do the proof of concept that this This machine was going to be able to detect things like plastic and wood and and other things that are not detected by X ray or metal detectors. It was truly an innovative challenge that they were tackling. And being a kW company or Kitchener Waterloo company, it was very exciting to be on that that kind of cusp of, you know, something exciting in the region that was getting a lot of buzz. Yeah. And I got to learn about VCs and funding in seed rounds in in got real insight into that component. But once again, I just kept realizing like I didn't want to be a food processing, manufacturing equipment sales guy, right? It's it's a tough breed.

Jonathan Collaton:

No, I get that. I mean, every like, there's things that you're passionate about. And then if suddenly, the thing you're passionate about is kind of taken away from you in a way, you've got to find the next thing you're passionate about.

Brandon Mullen:

Exactly. And so I kind of I kind of took a step back again, and I thought, Okay, what am I passionate about? Still sales? Have I used my degree? Yes, I went a couple years into a field where my degree was extremely prevalent. And I got to use a lot of the educational background that I had from it in that. So maybe I remove that component from my thought process of where do I want to go next?

Jonathan Collaton:

Because you sort of, in a way, like checked the box?

Brandon Mullen:

Yeah, exactly. So okay, use my degree, check my box mama that can be brought. I can feel good that I spent money that was, you know, towards something that was practical.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. And that got you to the thing that will get you to the next thing.

Brandon Mullen:

Exactly. And so I removed that from the equation. And I thought about, okay, what do I still have to do? What am I still passionate about? I was still people solving challenges, helping people, you know, problem solving. What is my goal? What do I want to do? And I realized I wanted to be a sales executive like that was the position in the title that I was working towards, at the startup that essentially shifted when they took this big market change. And I moved into more of a business development role. And so I had to learn about, I had to learn something that I didn't know, which was actually the career that I was trying to get into, and the intricacies around the stepping stones that you need to go in that career. And so I realized through my research that in order for me to get to an inside sales, sales, executive account manager position, all these titles that asked for five, six years, seven years of relevant selling experience, I needed to move into a role that was entry level in nature. And that role is a business development representative role or a sales development representative role depending on what company you're at. And so I took a look at the market in the in the region of Kitchener Waterloo and looked at who was hiring for those roles. I didn't necessarily have the industry part of the equation there. I don't think I really cared at that time. I just saw my goal as becoming a sales executive. And that was what I've been working towards, at the startup. So how do I get there? And I realized that there was a couple companies in the region that were hiring, and D to L, Desire to Learn was one of them. Where I think maybe it's not done enough for young professionals coming out of university is building a network and then leveraging that network through mediums like LinkedIn. And maybe that's not the cool thing to do. But it is so beneficial, because I actually ended up reaching out to Jacqueline Wingfield, who was at the time working at DTL. And who, when I reached out to was able to help me guide the inner workings of the company to get to the person that I needed to get to, to make an introduction and ultimately get an interview. And then now you've got that inside person at the company who may be if they're willing to, can now put in a good word for you. And I think oftentimes, that's, that's so that's not that's not used enough, or maybe not looked on enough as a benefit. But really, if you can have that internal champion, help guide you, then your head heads above everyone,

Jonathan Collaton:

I can't agree more. And I'll touch on that. But I also want to go back to so like Jacqueline went to school with us. And I knew Jacqueline, I think we met from Orientation Week. How did you meet Jacqueline?

Brandon Mullen:

So it would have been from orientation region as well. But she ended up starting to date Kyle horse who all connect, mate. And then next thing you know, you know, I connect with Kyle. And obviously, we're still really, you know, really close at the time, said, Hey, you know, Jacqueline's working in detail. Well, you know, you think it's cool. If I reach out to her and, you know, ask her questions, I actually reached out to her on Instagram, because I saw that she had posted cake day. So really cool. When we're in the office, obviously, in light of COVID cake day doesn't happen anymore. But they celebrate everyone's anniversary of their hiring. You know, on that month, so every I think it's like first Monday of the month, or something like that first, first week of the month, they bring out this cake, and it's to celebrate and commemorate everyone that was kind of hired in that month. And so I saw her post that on Instagram, and I was like, oh, man, if anything, this company's got some sweet snacks.

Jonathan Collaton:

That's right.

Brandon Mullen:

So what else?

Jonathan Collaton:

I'm here for the perks.

Brandon Mullen:

Exactly what else. And that is important? rsps. benefits, perks

Jonathan Collaton:

That's right?

Brandon Mullen:

These are the things you got to ask

Jonathan Collaton:

Everybody's looking for a few different things.

Brandon Mullen:

Everyone wants to talk about salary, and how do we negotiate that. But you got to think my friends about what are their snack options?

Jonathan Collaton:

That's right,

Brandon Mullen:

if any at all?

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. Do they even have vending machines?

Brandon Mullen:

Do they have free coffee? How am I supposed to you know, pump that into my veins? 24?

Jonathan Collaton:

I mean, these are the things that really fuel the economy,

Brandon Mullen:

They matter. And if you don't think they matter, well, then you

Jonathan Collaton:

just wait till you get into an office.

Brandon Mullen:

Exactly. Oh, wait till we get back into the office, go check it out. And then go from that. Anyways, you know, Jacqueline posted this on our store, I reached out to her leverage my internal network. And she, you know, she was so kind to help me navigate that get in touch with the Director of Business Development at the time, filmic Roberts, and I was able to have an interview with Phil, and I was able to talk about my past experience with my startup company that I was working with, at the time and talk about how I, you know, worked, not only a sales role, but had experienced the shift with the company that ultimately put me in a role even though I wasn't titled that in a role that was so similar to what he was hiring for. and amazing, you know, the rest of his kind of history.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah. And so we, you know, we'll, we'll talk about that. But I also the second point I wanted to make about the reaching out to your network. It's worth pointing out that literally just today, I referred someone for a job, when they they just happen to reach out to me recently, and we got chatting about what they want to do, and they want to work in the field I work in, and I heard of a position come available. And so I actually did my own kind of background research first and I asked someone I knew they used to work for before I went and spoke to them about the job because there is an element to and you're referring people you want to protect yourself. Yeah, sure. You're not referring bad candidates. And, and it had just it had been a while since I worked with this person. And I spoke to someone who they had worked for and they said no, great. Yeah, absolutely. I expressed if I had concerns, they said oh, that's not a problem anymore. And then I told that person about the job and told the hiring manager about them just today. So it's very timely that you bring This up and that's very part of your story. So, yeah, all right. So Desire to Learn D to L, as it is commonly known. Talk about that company does a little bit. So we can tell, you can tell us what exactly it is you're selling

Brandon Mullen:

Oh my gosh, yeah, so they are an edgy tech company. So an education technology company, they sell a platform called Brightspace. And ultimately, this is an online platform where the delivery is education. So for me, I work in the corporate segment, we serve three different segments, corporate higher ed, or higher education in kindergarten through grade 12. So what I do in comparison to what my colleagues who are working in the education market do is is very different. But we sell still the same platform, you know, one line of code, that's what we're really proud of. And ultimately, we're we're creating access to education through this this platform, or what's called a learning management system. And so, you know, you working in universities and things of that nature, I'm sure you've probably had an exposure to a few different online portals what they may have been called ranges,

Jonathan Collaton:

I wish I could remember the name, but I just saw a presentation by a guy recent like three weeks ago, who does the same type of software, and I just can't remember what it was called right now. But he was using it in particular to, I think, expand education in certain countries in Africa where they can, they don't have some of the resources, but they have others. And so a platform like this would allow for kind of an expansion of their education, since

Brandon Mullen:

exactly students come on, they take education as if they were in classes, it's obviously today's day and age, it's fully online. So this is where a piece of technology like this allows, educators can continue to do the same thing day in and day out, that they would be doing in the classroom, before the situation of the world, it was very much used for a blended approach. So being able to put information and material in students hands, you know, at a very scalable kind of rate. And so at Laurier, you would have known it as or, and anyone still at Laurier would know it as my learning space. So that is D two L's product that is their learning management system. We have a myriad of customers all across the globe, that are using it to help with the delivery of education out there academic institutions. Anyways, going back to where I work in the market is the corporate market, which is very different. We are working on delivering internal professional development to people at companies. So very timely right now.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, 100%.

Brandon Mullen:

So many people are onboarding in a virtual way. And so this is that tool that takes them through a guided learning experience, you know, asynchronously, so they can do self paced learning, in the comfort of their own homes get equipped and be ready, you know, to hit the ground running with the company that they're at. So onboarding, leadership development, these are examples of ways that the tool is used in the corporate aspect. What we're seeing in the market today, which is really exciting is the opportunity for companies where their business model is actually the delivery of education for skills development. And taking a platform like this, and ultimately, going out and providing learning to people who, in today's job market might be looking to change what they're doing, or develop new skills. Because they need to find new jobs. And so it's a really exciting element that I'm able to work for a company that is, I mean, it sounds maybe cheesy, because it's a little bit of our slogan, but helping kind of change the way the world learns. Especially right now.

Jonathan Collaton:

No, I can totally understand that. And I have to find out more about the platform just talked about the end there. Because I'm thinking of things like LinkedIn learning where you take these extra kind of opportunities to to learn things, which is a great chance for me to point out to people, there's a ton of stuff on there that teaches you how to run a podcast. So I was lucky that I got some practice at my job running a podcast for work before I started this, but there are so many, I'm not going to say totally free resources out there. There are a lot of free resources, but there are like cheap resources. And you can sign up sign up for like a month of LinkedIn learning, for example, and you can take as much as you want in that month. And oh, yeah, as many learning opportunities as you want. And no time is this been more relevant than right now for recent grads? Because if they're coming out of school and struggling to find work, keep getting new, you know, new training new certifications, if you can, but there is the chance to use these online resources that you are picking up and you're learning from and explaining to employers, you can you can put it on your resume and then say I took these extra things in my own time to try and gain these extra skill sets. Because you don't always, not ever is going to be the perfect candidate, you just got to be better than everyone else.

Brandon Mullen:

Yeah, or at least sell yourself

Jonathan Collaton:

100%

Brandon Mullen:

right as better than everyone else, pulling together the the relevant skills that you've developed, once again, whether it's in your degree or doing things like LinkedIn learning to further your your skill set it as long as you can continue to show in, you know, show concisely that the skills that you developed apply to the jobs, shoot your shot.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, 100% 100%. So I want to know what you then when you when you moved over to D to l? Would was that for you? Like a lateral move? Would you have considered that or because you did say you kind of had to go into that business development role to get to where you would have wanted long term. So not every move is a move up the chain, right, you had to go somewhere else and start kind of at the same level. And sometimes you have to take a step back and go somewhere else to then work yourself up that chain. So you make that move? And do you feel like or are you now at that point where you want it to be?

Brandon Mullen:

I'm definitely at that point now. And I've been at the company three years since October. And it wasn't, it wasn't an easy path. And that's not to talk bad about the company at all. But it's it, I think it's it makes you as a candidate. Think about, again, when you're given the opportunity in these interview scenarios. And the interviewer asks you, do you have any questions for me?

Jonathan Collaton:

Ask them questions.

Brandon Mullen:

ask them questions, and don't ask them questions about, you know, what am I going to get paid? Or what are the salaries like right, like, you're going to find out those things, and you should always another thing, shoot your shot, but always negotiate?

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah,

Brandon Mullen:

you always have the opportunity to do that, I think negotiate strategically and negotiate with with with proof points, you know, why do you deserve this this salary? What you know, what can you show and go to the the employer with I think, you know, not to kind of digress and segment off here. But I think it's really important for people to advocate for themselves and to negotiate those salaries, especially if that's something that is very important for them. Definitely. But to ask the question of what is your career development? Like, what is your career pathing? Like, how do I get this is the goal that I have? How do I get there? And what do you guys do in order to help ensure that I get to that point. So that I don't think that was something that I asked, I was like, I had learned to a certain extent, where I needed to start, but I don't think I necessarily understood in the middle, what I needed to do in order to get to where I was, it's not always just a matter of being successful at the job or putting in the hard work or, you know, putting in the extra hours. It's really about, you know, developing again, the skills that are going to be relevant in that next step. So it was a lateral move very much. So it was a lateral move that paid a little bit more. So it was exciting. Yeah. And, and I moved from a realm of no commission to commission. And this opened up a whole new excitement of sales for me. I was like, What do you mean, you're gonna give me extra money for working extra hard? Yes, sign me up for that. I want to do that. And so I slowly understood a little bit more about the realm of sales. And I think once again, another thing that I would really touch on is, is key in not only building a network that you can, that you can reach out to, but building a diverse network, that you can reach out to other people where, hey, you have that cool job, and I want to get to that cool job. How do I get there? My network was so niche with science people, that I never had the opportunity to reach out to a sales professional and understand, okay, you know, how do I get to where you are? What are the things I need to do? What are the questions I need to ask? So, you know, ask those cool job titles that you're looking to get to how did you get to that point?

Jonathan Collaton:

I love that I and something I'm seeing a lot of recently, you know, when you talk about like reaching out to people who are in the job you want and because it's not like they are going to see you as a threat and not want to help you they in most cases, they're going to be flattered that someone's asking them how did you get to be as successful as you are you get what you want. And we we brought up LinkedIn before and I want to go back to that because that's the value of something like LinkedIn, whereas what I'm seeing A lot of them LinkedIn these days is people trying to become these like career influencers on LinkedIn and sharing this, these garbage, like stories about how they gave someone a chance. And that's not the value of LinkedIn, the value of LinkedIn is finding people who are doing what you want to do and being able to connect with them, because you can see their profile of what their job is. And that's how you know they're the right person to connect to. And LinkedIn makes it relatively easy to connect with people and that way. So absolutely leverage things like that to connect with people who you want to who you want to be, or you want to have the job they have.

Brandon Mullen:

And I think after this episode of the podcast, you might want to reach out to LinkedIn and ask for some sponsorship dollars because I think we probably mentioned them. So many times LinkedIn learnings,

Jonathan Collaton:

Right i'll hold the episode hostage. Yeah, not really see it until you sponsor the show. Yeah, so it's and it's actually been a great platform for me to share this podcast, because that's where people want to go to talk about careers. So right when I get home from this actually have to go set up my LinkedIn career Crossroads page, yeah. so that people can go there. And I want to create a space for community to talk about their careers. So yeah, it's got a lot of great. Great thing.

Brandon Mullen:

It does, it does.

Jonathan Collaton:

And so sponsor me,

Brandon Mullen:

just a little plugin there. But But yeah, like, if if I had done that reached out to someone in the role, I think it would have understood a little bit more of the nuances and where I was going, because I was kind of flying by the seat of my pants. And then you think about, okay, you've got this great platform that you've, you know, are able to leverage through LinkedIn. And how do you take it one step further. And so I realized that I needed to start building my network internally, reach out to senior leadership, and start having conversations with them and being like, Hey, what are you looking for, from a skillset perspective, when someone needs to join your team? And so that's where I started having conversations with the the sales organization in saying, Okay, look, I want to be an account executive, or I want to be an account manager, you know, reaching out to their those bosses, the directors of sales, the directors of client sales for the accounting account management piece, and saying, you know, what can I be doing now in my development, to be ready for when a time opens up on your team? And so I, again, I joined ETL on a lateral move, it was great, because I realized, there's so much more to sales than what I knew. That learning piece you're always learning, you're always discovering, commission aspects. Great. Now, what do I want to get to from a goals and careers perspective? And so I had to reach out to people in my company to build those relationships, build that network to understand, you know, what do I get to and how do I get here. And unfortunately, I think I feel like I in my career in in, although I've worked extremely hard, and I've I've tried to be as savvy as possible, I almost feel that I took, you know, a few steps forward in multiple steps back. I, I wish I don't regret but I wish I would have understand and understood, excuse me more about the sales career, in past the point of just, I want to make human connections. So that I wouldn't necessarily have started at the startup, I would have went straight to a company like DTL gone to that business development role, and then worked my way into the, you know, account executive or sales executive role. So it's, although I'm thankful for my, my experience, and everything that it's brought me in, in who it's kind of made me today and how it's helped me be successful in my career. It, it was an interesting path.

Jonathan Collaton:

You know, I really appreciate sharing what in some ways, like, you can, like you said, you can still appreciate the experience you've had, but if you are going back and mapping your career, it's sort of like a misstep, or because you said steps forward steps back. And I have not gotten a lot of people to share things like that so far on this podcast, when I like, that's the reality, things don't always go, things aren't perfect all the time. And, and, you know, that's just how things are like, I've, I've talked about it for sure. Like, I've had jobs that were like coming up at the end of a contract and I have to scramble and take what's available in some cases, and I'm glad that those jobs worked out to be something I liked. But in an ideal world, like that's not what I would have done and and or that's not if I look back on it, I think okay, what would I have would have changed how I did something else and you can still appreciate the experience you've had but say like, yeah, maybe I would change how I had done something so it's refreshing.

Brandon Mullen:

Yeah, and and appreciate you saying that because ultimately, there's a lot of, there's a lot of self doubt that comes with that, right. But I think ultimately, as long as you can chalk it up to an experience that you've learned from and can help other people, you know, learn from, then I think it's beneficial at the end of the day. And it actually got to a point where I considered trying to find another job, you know, like, I considered like, this is taking me way too long. I've already spent two years prior at a startup, realistically doing what, you know, some of my peers were doing, you know, why am I not doing that? Why am I not there yet. And so there was a point, I think, about 15, to 16 months into the business development role, where I was like, This isn't happening fast enough for me, I need to find another company who's going to, you know, validate my previous previous experience, and put me in the role that I want to be in. Now, I kind of grimace a little bit at that, because there is a sense of entitlement that came with that. And I think that's something that a lot of young professionals really need to check. Early on in their career, I had recognized that, although my experience from my startup company helped me get the business development job and made me you know, a really strong candidate for the role, I was successful in the role. It by no means entitled me to move through that role fast into the next. And so that was really interesting. Like, there was elements of self doubt, you know, I took a couple steps for a couple of took a couple steps back, I wasn't moving through this company as fast as I wanted to. And then I realized it's a marathon, not a sprint. And unfortunately, enough, once again, going back to asking those questions about career development, D to f l has been a company that, you know, is learning to, and offered me a chance to learn with them. And so I got to do a really cool program, which was a, what we called what I helped come up with, which was the sales experiential learning program or sell program, a little bit of a play on words there.

Jonathan Collaton:

Oh, yeah.

Brandon Mullen:

And it really afforded me the opportunity to work in the customer success role, the client sales role in the account, executive role, all in the span of of eight months. And I think ultimately, you know, what other I think it speaks ultimately, huge to, to detail as a as a company that really its mission, vision and value is to, to further education, and make it accessible. And although, again, it sounds a little cheesy, but this being professional development, not necessarily education, they, they, they, they follow through with, you know, that aspect of company culture and what they stood behind and their mission, and they can be an amazing opportunity that is, is only helped me be even more successful. And the role that I'm in now, which is, you know, full time sales executive role in the corporate segment. And, again, it kind of took me a little bit of self doubt, and having to look at maybe exploring the market for another job. But where I guess my point is in that is, don't quit on yourself, don't give up on yourself, just because you're not moving through things as fast as you think you should be, or you think you might be entitled to moving through.

Jonathan Collaton:

I, I've, I've experienced some of that myself for sure. Where I would look at what was it strengthsfinder, we did, and I look at it, and everyone on my team fits into these certain categories and looked at where the managers fit into. And I was like, I fit into this category too. And I thought, okay, I'm on that track. And then after, and I kind of got over my sense of entitlement and looked around and realized, no, I'm, that's not for me. And that's not that's not where I'm headed. And I'm okay with that. And I just got to figure out like, what if not that what and, but it certainly was, there was a long time of I was I was definitely lucky because I don't think I ever felt a certain sense of like entitlement. I just thought it was where I was headed. But I wasn't like I'm not moving fast enough. So I like I don't know if anyone would know that I thought that I was headed in that direction. But But I definitely had to reflect on what I thought I was going to be at a certain point and then come to the realization like no, that's not where I'm gonna be I'm now I'm gonna do something else. And so I can appreciate that that's, it's not easy to kind of look at that and realize, because you don't, it's not that you're you failed or it's not that you're allowed to make mistakes and learn from them or you're allowed to change your mind. It happens all the time. So I get where you're coming from.

Brandon Mullen:

I appreciate that. It's again, it's nice to to get that that sense. I don't want to say validation, but that you're, you're not alone. Oh, yeah. In some of those career aspects, try to figure them out and, and navigate them as as best as possible.

Jonathan Collaton:

Definitely. All right. And so now you're in this role that you were looking for.

Brandon Mullen:

Yep.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah, you're happy with it.

Brandon Mullen:

I am ecstatic. It's been, it's been an amazing year for me, I to the most humble respect, you know, like, I'm very fortunate to be in the position that I'm in. Not only from a career perspective, and how hard I've worked to get here, but I know, especially in this time, like, no one, a lot of people have been afforded the same kind of opportunities that I have. So I don't forget about that. But I I'm happy, I am doing something that I love, I'm selling a story that I can get behind and feel good about as a sales guy, I feel, you know, as a sales person sales professional, you're, you're in that realm, in your in that career, for different reasons. Again, human connection, commission. And sometimes you're not always proud about what you sell, or you're not always confident in the product that you sell. But, again, I think I'm very fortunate to work for a company that has ideals and values that resonate with me as an individual. And I can go into my living room office every day and, and feel good about getting on my laptop and reaching out to people and really solving problems that are ultimately bettering lives at the end of the day, and hopefully helping people in their own career crossroads. So I'm happy, I'm excited. I think it's taken me a little bit to realize like, okay, now that I'm here, I can pump the brakes and just focus on being good at my job. And it's not about like, how do I get out of the business development role as fast as possible and get the account executive role, because it is definitely a role that is a grind. I don't think I've touched on that yet. in this, in this episode at all, it is a grind. Anyone who is looking to get into the business development, role, sales, development, role, anything of that nature, if you ever want to reach out to me on LinkedIn, to understand the true nuances of the job, I'm going to be as politely blunt as possible about it. But understand it is unnecessary evil, and it will afford you amazing opportunity to develop skills that are only going to help you in moving to the account executive or account management position. So no, it's it's been a great year coming up on the final quarter of the year for us at D2L. Well, I guess maybe, yeah, we'll be in the final quarter when this episode is, is launched. But yeah, it's it's been a strong year for myself and in terms of numbers in and I couldn't be happier in terms of just finally having some, some, what I don't think should be called success. Because there there, there was success along the road that ultimately got me here. But I guess, you know, like, maybe the work just gonna slip me so I'll stick with success. But

Jonathan Collaton:

well, it's like you've done all these things that you enjoyed. And you also try to keep learning and now you're somewhere else that you also enjoy maybe even more than what you enjoyed before.

Brandon Mullen:

Yeah, it's it's a validation of the hard work and effort that was put in in that validation where it was kind of escaping me but it is essentially that the the the successes and everything that I had along the way to get to the job that I'm in now. And the hard work and the effort that you know, I've gone to in terms of navigating and getting to this sales executive role, it all of that is validated by the fact that I'm in this role now being successful, that I took the right path and the learning opportunities and things that were given to me, I didn't quit on myself, when things got maybe annoying or hard. And I took the new opportunities that were put in front of me to to continue to learn and grow with the company. And I think I think that often times, we're in a world that the next you're always enticed by the next thing. So the next jobs out there. So you see people staying in a company for a couple years and then moving in one year and then moving. So I think like it was a nice validation that that old school mindset of working for a company for 25 years, like you may be not getting to that tenure of time but if you're staying with a company and you're putting in the time and effort that that dedication can be rewarded sometimes so it was great to kind of see that as well, on that aspect.

Jonathan Collaton:

Great. All right, well glad to see that you've made it to where you want to be. Thank you from science to sales that might be the episode title. I haven't decided yet sales. Certainly one of the other one is polymers to program sales, but I'm not quite decided though.

Brandon Mullen:

Hey, both Solid, both strong.

Jonathan Collaton:

Yeah i'll have to go through an edit and see how dumb one of them sounds. Alright, thank you so much for coming on and sharing your whole story today.

Brandon Mullen:

I appreciate it. Yeah, it's amazing.

Jonathan Collaton:

All right, so that is Brandon's story. Now, what have we learned today? Brandon's crossroad came early when he realized that his passion for polymers was not what he thought it was. He still wanted to use his degree, but he found himself drawn to a career with more human interaction. The interesting thing about what he shared was that it wasn't just some light bulb moment where he knew exactly what he wanted. In a perfect world, we would all know what we wanted and know how to get there. But life just doesn't work that way does it? Brandon had to think through what he learned and determine how to utilize those skills in a way that would validate the work he had done in obtaining his undergrad degree. So we put in the work both on his own and by getting help from the experts, which in his case, was the staff at the Laurier career center. I know I've never thought about going back and using my university career center before. But I think after hearing that, I'm gonna have to reconsider. Because Brandon has shown me that you can utilize the resources around you to great effect when you feel like you need to make a change. When Brandon did figure out that he wanted to work in sales, it wasn't exactly smooth sailing all the way through. Like most of us would probably say he doesn't regret the decisions that he made to get where he is. But he said he would maybe do things differently if he had known more about sales. But that's all just part of the journey, isn't it? We have to try things to find out that they aren't for us. And if we could all read ahead into the future to help us get what we wanted. We'd all probably have bought Tesla stocks about five years ago. But we can't go back in time. We can only take what we learn when we learn it and use that information to take the right steps on the path ahead. And even then, sometimes we'll stumble. Sometimes we'll feel entitled, like we're owed something or feel like we need to move on to a different job because we aren't moving fast enough. And when that happens, do what Brandon did. Stop, reassess. Figure out what you want, and talk to the people who can give you the information about how to get there. As long as you're willing to learn someone out there is willing to teach you. That's all for today. And I hope you enjoyed this week's episode of career crossroads. As always, if you want to join in on some of the conversation about the episodes, follow us on Instagram at career underscore Crossroads or on LinkedIn at the career Crossroads podcast page. If you want to shoot me a message about anything you heard on the show, there's a contact me page on career Crossroads podcast.com. And there you'll be able to see transcripts from this episode and soon enough transcripts from all of the future episodes of career crossroads. Be sure to come back next week where we find out how Will decided to make the jump from business administration to being a full time video game Twitch streamer and youtuber.