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New Series – Life at Gears

Have you ever wondered what life is like as a consultant? Or what it’s like to work from home every day in a fully virtual company? Wonder no more – the “Life at Gears” series will feature our employees talking about a typical day-in-the-life at Gears, explaining their roles and showing off their home office spaces.

Gears is growing in 2020, and we are currently hiring for multiple positions. We have an amazing team at Gears, and what better way to showcase these individuals, and the variety of roles at Gears, than to let our employees share their stories themselves? This series is kicking off with Emily Vander Laan, Senior Consultant.

Emily Vander Laan, Senior Consultant

What is your role at Gears?
I am a Senior Consultant on our Customer Success team. This means that my clients are all long-term partners of GearsCRM. Rather than building out an instance or specific new feature, I’m on hand to help our clients with whatever comes up. Part admin, part advisor, part coordinator of specialists like Developers or Data Services, I’m there for my clients no matter what need arises.

What does a typical day look like for you?
One thing I love about Gears is that there’s no “typical day” – every day is a different mix of challenges, meetings, project management, and when time allows, some continuing education so I am always on top of new Salesforce features. Keeping up with my inbox and categorizing the size and prioritization of new requests is an ongoing part of my day, but I also carve out time to do larger pieces of configuration in my clients’ environments. I also hold weekly status calls with most clients, as well as have ad hoc meetings when needed. I have a lot of flexibility to manage my week!

Emily’s workspace – look at those dual monitors!

What’s been your most interesting project so far?
Most of my work consists of smaller projects and initiatives. I have come to really love Lightning Migrations – assisting clients moving from the Classic UI to Lightning Experience. We all know change can be painful, so I’ve really enjoyed trying to take the pain and uncertainty out of the transition for my direct stakeholders and their end-users. With a mix of regression testing and training on new Lightning-only functionality, I’ve had a lot of fun – and success – in migrating clients to Lightning.

How has Gears helped you in your career development?
My teammates here at Gears are probably the biggest asset when it comes to my professional development. Prior to joining Gears, I was working in environments where I was one of a small handful of employees who really “got” Salesforce. It takes a certain amount of effort to stay on top of new releases and be fluent in such a wide portfolio of products. Now, I work with dozens of Salesforce gurus who are helpful, responsive, and genuinely excited to see me succeed. Working here has given me a large group of peers to bounce ideas off of, which has helped me pick up new skills faster. You’ve usually got a built-in study group for certifications at your fingertips. Right now I’m working with two colleagues to prepare for our next certification exam together. You won’t find that level of support everywhere.

What’s your favorite thing about working for Gears?
Flex hours! I occasionally moonlight as a wig and makeup designer at my local community theater. When working on a play or musical, I’m often at the theater 30+ hours a week. Knowing I can work around my call times has made it a lot easier to balance my schedule and avoid burnout from overbooking myself.

Emily’s coworker Tessa, a lab/hound mix. Best office-mate ever!

When you’re not on-the-clock, how do you spend your time?
Well – see above! I spend 12-16 weeks a year working on theatrical productions. I also watch a lot of documentaries – my husband and I are attempting to watch 50+ in 2020. On top of that, I love visiting the dog park with my lab/hound mix Tessa, playing Dungeons & Dragons, and reading.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what one thing would you want to bring with you?
Paper and pencils. So many things it can be used for – drawing, writing, list-making, burning when you run out of kindling on said island…

Do you have advice for anyone getting ready to work from home full time?
Accept now that your willpower WILL run out every once in a while. Rather than tricking yourself into thinking that won’t happen, prepare for it. Some ways I deal with willpower depletion are:

  1. Changing the scenery – working at a coffee shop or co-work space helps break up the routine and gives you an “audience” to show off your focusing skills for.
  2. Switch up what you’re working on. Sometimes it’s not that you lack focus generally, but that you’ve hit a mental wall with your current task and need to change things up a bit.
  3. Taking short breaks. If I’m really lacking focus I use a timer and take regularly scheduled breaks. It’s somehow a lot easier to buckle down when you know a break is on the horizon.
  4. Recognize that this happens to your colleagues too, and ask them for more tips. We’ve all been there!

Thanks to Emily for taking the time to share! If Emily’s role sounds like the job for you, check out our open positions and learn more about working for Gears. We look forward to introducing you to more of the team through the “Life at Gears” series!

Jaclyn Sergeant

Jaclyn is the Senior Director of Marketing and Customer Experience at Gears and has been with the company since 2011. She has a background in marketing operations, horrible taste in music, a love of cooking and a passion for enjoying a good pinot with friends.

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