It’s possible to lead without managing people — and this process helped me find the perfect role

A woman looks out of a skyscraper window at the skyline.
A woman looks out of a skyscraper window at the skyline.
Image credit: skyNext

I’ve been working in the tech industry for over ten years at various software as a service (SaaS) companies on customer success teams. I started my tech career working for an EdTech startup where I was writing marketing materials and managing customer relationships. Then I moved on to a ratings and reviews company that helped brands and retailers collect and amplify reviews on their products to increase conversion. Next up, I joined a tech recruiting company that helped other companies hire tech talent through targeted content. …

Start with your values and go from there

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We live in a grind culture. You can argue that it’s an outgrowth of a combination of capitalism, the rising cost of living that hasn’t kept up with wages, and America’s obsession with work over play, but whatever the origins, it’s where we live now. You can’t open a social media app, read an article, or browse the virtual book shelves without seeing someone who is talking about launching their side business. There are podcasts about side hustles, there are books, YouTube videos, and entire Instagram accounts — all based on the premise that it’s not just valuable to set…

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Sometimes using just the right words makes all the difference

Customer success professionals have a hard job. With the rise in need for ensuring companies retain their customers, the job of the customer success manager (CSM)becomes more and more critical. 2020 threw in frightening technicolor that retaining customers is the only thing that matters in a business, which forced an already-in-motion shift from hard-driving new business wins to customer retention and expansion.

A good CSM acts as the quarterback for the customer. She is the voice and advocate for the customer internally, driving product adoption and outcomes. She’s elevating product feedback internally and being a relentless cheerleader for all things…

My best friend made a joke about how I quit everything. She wasn’t wrong.

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From the age of 10 to the age of 17, I danced. I started with ballet, added in jazz and modern, and even dabbled in hip hop. A 10-year old girl who took ballet lessons isn’t a very original story, but I was an economically disadvantaged 10-year old and in order to afford my dance lessons and my pointe shoes, my mother used to make the costumes for the performances in exchange for my tuition.

I was also a talented dancer, and my athletic build made my jumps very high and my turns really tight. I loved dance. Until one…

Therapy is a not-so-secret weapon for professional success

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I first went to therapy as a way to salvage my marriage when I was 25 years old. I’ve continued going to therapy for the better part of 10 years, and the lessons and insights haven’t slowed down. It remains a critical aspect of my growth as a person.

Professionally, I’ve worked in customer success at tech companies for over a decade as both an individual contributor and a leader. I believe integrating what you learn in life into the workplace is a no-brainer in terms of positively contributing to a team or an organization. …

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I recently finished Think Again: The Power of Knowing What you Don’t Know by Adam Grant. Full book review aside, it does an excellent job of laying out the case for not staying married to our beliefs. Through research and anecdotes, Grant takes us through the three archetypes of the preacher, the politician, and the prosecutor that so many of us fall into when we find ourselves defending our beliefs.

We preach when we get on our soap box and explain in great detail why what we believe is the thing to believe, not unlike a preacher at his pulpit…

Evelyn in Kilkee, Ireland. April 2017.

Stumbling into your first mother’s day after your mom has died is a strange thing. I was anticipating a tsunami of grief as my dear friend would say, but it’s more of a low, long, deep hum of waves and ripples crashing in and out. I last saw my mother alive a year ago, almost exactly a year ago today, at my brother’s law school graduation.

She did her normal things to annoy me, wandered off in a crowd so we had to send a sentry to look for her because she was too short to be spotted in a…

Arit Nsemo

Tech professional, coach, and avid reader who writes about work, balance and aligning values to your life.

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