Gracie is currently a Salesforce Administrator at Bitwise Industries

Graciela Sandov holding a pumpkin in each hand
Graciela Sandov

I like to go with the flow. Before entering Climb Hire, I didn’t exactly have a direction I wanted to go in. I was content with wherever I ended up – a very early 20’s mindset. My career before Climb Hire, to be blunt, was nonexistent. I was a part-time esthetician, treating my job more like a hobby and slowly growing to hate what I was doing. People always told me that I should turn my hobby into a career, so I could love what I do. That may be accurate for some people, but for me, it was the opposite. I made my hobby my career and hated it. I had no way to advance, but even if I did, I knew that career path wasn’t for me. It was a lose-lose situation and I was stuck in limbo not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. When the pandemic started in 2020, I found myself unemployed as the spa industry was one of the first to close down completely.

Unemployed and not going back to work any time soon, I was looking for other options. That was when I received an alert from Indeed about Climb Hire. I read about the program and quickly fell in love with everything they had to offer. I had always loved technology and was excited by the opportunity to learn a new skill and shift my career. When I read Climb Hire’s commitment, “We are a community, not a class,” I knew I had found the program for me.

I felt comfortable in the community right away. Coming to class and meeting others who were in a similar situation as I was was very reassuring. It made me feel safe to ask questions about topics I knew nothing about or reach out to get help since we were all doing this together. The volunteer events were nerve-wracking; I didn’t know what to expect. After doing a couple, it became very natural and easy to talk to strangers in the industry, finding common interests, and connecting with them outside of Climb Hire. Being exposed to the idea and art of social capital was so important. Being able to reach out to the volunteers and keep a connection even after Climb Hire was totally new to me and I’m glad this program offered that to us.

Social capital is networking, connecting with people in a professional setting. But it’s not a transactional relationship, where you’re getting to know someone for your benefit alone. Social capital is about establishing a connection that goes beyond a career-based relationship. Homophily was the topic of our first soft skill classes and now I understand why. It is the key to meaningful social capital. You never know who you might meet: your best friend or someone to support you during your toughest times and you to them.

Graciela Sandov and another woman drinking boba
Graciela Sandov and another woman drinking boba

Before Climb Hire, I had a hard time keeping connections. I always assumed people have their own lives and didn’t want to bug them. In reality, that mindset held me back from many relationships I could’ve still had to this day. I learned to reach out more and be okay with checking in with others, instead of feeling as though I am a bother. Ultimately, It’s about always being there for someone else.

My favorite part of Climb Hire by far has been the community and the mutual investment in social capital with other Climbers, Fellows, staff, and volunteers. This community felt more like a family than a peer group. I looked forward to coming to class to hang out, work with them, and sometimes vent when times were tough. My community was the most supportive and encouraging group of people I’ve known. They would check in to see if I needed help with anything and listen when I needed to vent. I couldn’t ask for a better community to go through Climb Hire with.

I recently started a new role as a Salesforce Administrator for Bitwise Industries. I’m mainly working with process automation. The skills I learned through Climb Hire are things I actually do at my current job. I always struggled with the feeling that I had little to offer. Now that I’ve gone through the program, I’ve gained useful skills and confidence. Before Climb Hire, I had no idea what I wanted to do. Now, not only do I know where I want to end up, but I also have the social capital to support me along the way.

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