Next week I’ll celebrate my first six months with Rackspace. I’ve never worked anywhere before where I wanted to celebrate being there for six months. Heck, most places I was already looking for the exit at that point. This place is special; regardless of all the fluff you read on this website or the slogans, logos and ads telling you how different and special we are – we truly are. It’s like that old quote about Shakespeare – “The funny thing is, he’s great, even though everyone says he is.”
When I applied for my job at Rackspace, I was asked why I wanted to work here. My response? “Because I want to be surrounded by people who are much smarter than I am.” Everyday I’m awed by the level of commitment my coworkers have to the company’s growth. I’m even more blown away by the company’s commitment to employees’ personal growth.
Everywhere I look there are free classes to take (including an MBA program), full bookshelves you’re welcome to take from (at least I think so – I keep taking and no one says anything!), and always tons of fun projects to work on. This last category for me has meant everything from making customer outreach videos to training for a Smash Bros. tournament on the community N64.
See, the funny thing about this place is that Rackspace doesn’t really want you to have a job, at least, not in the strictest sense. They want you to have a life. What they want is not an employee – it’s a person. The first thing you’ll encounter when you’re hired at Rackspace is the Strengths Finder Assessment which, upon completion of Rookie Orientation (Rookie O), you will proudly display on your desk. It tells you what you’re great at, as much for yourself as for others to see. Everyone is different and expected to be. And every manager and team lead is expected to take note of those strengths and use them.
Six months ago I started here thinking I knew nothing about the job I just got, and the only thing my team leaders had on me were those strengths. I was green as you can be. Now I’m part of a team that leads new hires at Rookie O every month. I blog for our Racker Talent site. I coordinate news of product update decisions between front-end support and back-end developers. I train new hires to my department. I’m just six months in, and I don’t have the same job I was hired for.
Then there’s the team outings, the go-carts we drive around Castle, the free food, the aforementioned N64 – in short, all the things that make this a lifestyle as much as a job. Being a Racker means something, albeit something a little strange. But hey, for a guy on a strange journey, that feels just right.
After completing nearly two ‘useless’ degrees, Drew graduated from Chapman University in 2007 with a BFA in Film Production (Emphasis: Cinematography) and a minor in Philosophy. Drew spent the summer in Costa Rica and France shooting an independent film, then headed to L.A. where he spent the next year jogging in the smog before being cast in the role of Stereotypical Industry Whipping Boy #1.
Tired of fetching coffee and doing concept art for television, Drew returned to San Antonio where he worked for a Hospice as a Project Manager for a year. During that time he completely re-wrote the company’s IT policy – and moved everything to Rackspace. To be fair, his best friend worked there and it was an excuse to talk on the phone everyday. Still, he was impressed by the support and, after he quit the hospice and travelled around India on a bicycle for three months, he applied for a job. Read More…Category: Rackers Tags: Drew Hicks, Life at Rackspace, Life Experience, Rookie O, Work Experience