Yrel Macahilas is a hard-working and results-driven professional with a passion for working in teams, currently training and looking for opportunities to gain experience as a Salesforce Administrator. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Yrel walking on a street in san francisco
Yrel walking on a street in San Francisco

College was always a north star to my family and I think that makes me lucky. Nearly 10 years ago, I enrolled in a university in Belmont, a town south of San Francisco. However, my family had serious financial struggles and so I lived at home and commuted to school for over three hours each day to save money. I was on the bus at 6 am and stayed on campus until 10 pm when my last class ended. I oftentimes stumbled into bed after 18 hour days thinking about my day. I slept on my bus ride to school most mornings risking the chance I could miss my stop, but I had to use every little bit of time to rest.

My mother worked seven days a week and was the sole income provider for my family. To help out, I took a minimum wage job as a Cashier for Burlington Coat Factory on the weekends.

That period of life was grim. My mother’s health took a turn for the worse, which made our financial situation even worse. My grandparents passed away. And a personal breakup sent my world spinning.

How do you get experience without having experience?

Four years later, with a diploma in hand, I applied for several jobs. With each rejection, I was losing hope. I thought I had done all the right things — I stuck with school even though I was emotionally and physically stretched to the point of breaking in half. I thought that grit was supposed to get me to the other side of opportunity. My school loans were piling up and my retail job wasn’t paying the bills. I kept hearing from employers that I wasn’t qualified because I lacked experience. I wondered “how does anyone get experience when no one will take that initial risk and give you experience?”

Disappointed and heartbroken, I went inward. My confidence had taken an immense beating. I couldn’t sleep at night because I didn’t know what to do. My long workweeks were proof that I have a strong work ethic, but I didn’t have anyone to guide or show me a path.

How I found Climb Hire

Three long years after graduation, I was still working at Burlington. I knew I had to confront the reality I was living, so I finally mustered the courage to ask myself “how had so much time gone by and how had I not found a way to advance?” After that hard look in the mirror, I put myself out there and came across a new program called Climb Hire that trained individuals to be Salesforce Administrators by completing 200+ hours of soft and technical skills. I figured with my degree in computer science, it would help me understand the Salesforce CRM and open doors to finally break into the tech industry.

Climb Hire, however, was much more than just a CRM training course. It helped us connect to individuals who are also looking to change their lives. This was incredibly important because I was deeply embarrassed about where I was in life. I felt like a failure because I thought I was supposed to be much further along professionally. To have a community, where every trainee was in a similar place gave me profound comfort and safety. With every session, we trusted a little bit more, supported one another when we got stuck and taught each other when the content was unclear and hard to get through. Joy, doing the hard work, building connections and overcoming adversity are the core values of Climb Hire and we took them to heart. The relationships we forged with one another is the community that will help us succeed.

From a technical standpoint, I had a blast playing around with Salesforce and the features that it offers to fit the needs of any business. While my fellow Climbers thought it came naturally to me, I had my fair share of sleepless nights learning about setting up users, making reports and dashboards, establishing objects and fields, building processes and creating formulas. The customization and user interface aspects fascinated the artist in me and I fell in love with the limitless capabilities of this CRM tool.

At Climb Hire, there were many joyous moments when we were learning about Salesforce as a community. However, I never felt happier than when I was helping a Climber make sense of a concept they were stuck on – which happened often. At the end of each session, we’d circle up and offer gratitude. Frequently, my peers thanked me. Before this program, I had very little confidence but everyone’s kind words boosted my self-esteem to the point where I couldn’t maintain my composure and smiled as my eyes watered. My family and closest friends could attest to how much I’ve changed and gained confidence in myself thanks to Climb Hire. I never imagined how much this community would play such a vital role in who I am now. As alumni, many of my classmates have been offered new jobs and are starting to break in. I’m being flown out to NYC for a day-long interview with a Salesforce consulting company and I can’t wait!

What comes next

Moving forward, I envision returning to Climb Hire to teach the next cohort what I have learned over the last six months. I’m eager to share stories and inspire the future Climbers to trust the process. There are many of us, who at some point in our lives lost our way and wish to find different paths. Climb Hire offered us a guiding hand and I’m grateful that I reached out and grabbed it.

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