By Kyle Bartholomew
Sep 21, 2018
Hello world, I’m Kyle Bartholomew and I just finished my first week at Jungle Disk. This first week was challenging yet fulfilling, and chock full of learning opportunities. Jungle Disk has already touched upon many of my interests I’m excited to work on. However, before we get into that, we have to go back to the December 2017 to see how I got here.
December 16, 2017, Nashville, TN
Pull up to the front yard, lock my bike up with frozen fingers, run as fast as I can into the warmth of the house. Nashville is entrenched in a frigid winter, and without a car, the bike rides between Vanderbilt University and my off-campus house have become quite unenjoyable. However, the thought of the email I’m expecting in my inbox quickly makes me forget about the cold as I settle into my desk and power up my laptop. Flip open the screen, refresh my email, and there it is: “Welcome to the Venture for America Class of 2018.” After an incredibly stringent interview process, I now have the job offer in hand. Well, kind of. I had been accepted to Venture For America (VFA), a fellowship program that aims to build a community of entrepreneurs who will build meaningful companies and create jobs in American cities. The VFA program accomplishes this mission through connecting VFA fellows with jobs at startups, where fellows learn the skills needed to start their own companies some day.
So I was accepted into the fellowship, but now I had to get a job within the fellowship. After a few months scouring VFA’s job search platform, I couldn’t find any opportunities that aligned with my skills and interests, and became discouraged. I had a relatively specific criteria for the job I wanted, focused mostly on location. Growing up in South Florida, I am not made for weather. Even my four years in Nashville, with its moderately cold winters, confirmed that I am a child of the sun. I knew that when I graduated I needed to get back to a place with year round warm weather.
After 4 months of job searching, I had yet to find a company, role, and location that agreed with my criteria. After interviewing at six companies prior to Jungle Disk, nothing was feeling quite right. I felt like Goldilocks, before she found the porridge that was just right. I couldn’t find the correct balance of role, geographic location, industry, size, and compensation. The day after I got home from Nashville post graduation, I was highly discouraged, and was thinking about starting to look for other jobs. Then, almost as if Mother Fate could hear my thoughts, my phone rang, and upon answering, I was surprised to hear a British accent on the other end. “This is peculiar,” I thought. On the phone was Zac Levin, a 2017 VFA fellow and Jungle Disk employee. He explained Jungle Disk and the role they were looking to fill. I was hooked. Everything Zac said aligned with what I was looking for.
At Vanderbilt, I studied Business and Computer Science. While I loved being involved with both, I recognized that my interpersonal business skills are much stronger than my programming skills, and that I thrive in team-based settings. But I also enjoy programming, and want to be involved in a technical arena. I wanted to find a job that would allow me to work in team settings, with other people, utilizing my interpersonal skills, while still being involved with programming and computer science. The Operations and Strategy Analyst role at Jungle Disk was the perfect blend of those. And San Antonio was perfect. It fit my criteria of year round warm weather, I love Texas, I have a few friends staying in San Antonio, and while it’s not necessarily on the coast, it’s not too far from my beloved ocean. In addition to its climate and geography, San Antonio also has a blossoming tech scene with a lot of promising young talent. I was extremely excited to thrust myself into this environment, and build a network in a tech space.
Furthermore, after I met Mandy, my manager, I knew that she would be a great person to work for. An expert in her field, she is a constant fountain of knowledge and experience. With her supervision and advice, I believe that I will have many opportunities to grow in the company both personally and professionally, and while adding value to Jungle Disk from day 1.
September 18, 2018, San Antonio, TX
Looking back on my first week at Jungle Disk, I feel confident that I made the right choice by going with my gut and coming to work here. The categories that I identified as imperative to my place of work are evident here at Jungle Disk. I believe that this will allow me to add value to Jungle Disk, while expanding my professional development, more than would be possible at other companies or in other roles. I have had a great time so far, and expect this to be the beginning of good things to come. I look forward to continue diving into Jungle Disk, learning about its clients, products, and team, while enhancing the Jungle Disk experience for all involved.