Sometimes, life requires you to stay where you are. It needs you to trust that you’re in the right place at the right time.
Other times, it will give you a golden opportunity to change your course and take a leap of faith—often into an unfamiliar place.
This month’s feature is a story of living both sides of the coin: making the most of where you are and plunging into the unknown.
Our main character is Joseph Garcia, or Sef, the moniker his peers call him by. He’s a Tier II Client Services Support Engineer from one of the reigning Best Workplaces™ under medium category, CarParts.com.
We share the inspiring narrative of how Sef went from grit to great to even greater.
Sef’s six years in CarParts.com didn’t start with a role as an IT personnel. In fact, it was pretty far from what you’d imagine.
An automotive mechanic with experience in Sales, he thought of applying to the Sales Associate Position way back in 2016. However, with slots full, he ventured into a completely different path—the Company Driver position.
In the beginning, Sef pegged this post as “easy” and, at a point, “fun.” And while the latter did not fade with time, he realized that the role required a conscious effort to be many things—snappy, versatile, resourceful and more.
It was a difficult job that required courage and resolve to persevere amidst all circumstances—or in other words, grit.
He needed to imbibe new skill sets at a faster pace than what he was used to. Despite having heavier responsibilities than expected, Sef continued to serve with a whole heart.
This period of perseverance served as the part of his journey where he stayed and made the most out of where he was despite the inevitable hardships.
His “work hard” mentality eventually brought him to the next step of this unpredictable adventure. Little did he know that merely a few months after securing his unconventional initial position, he will need to harness even more grit.
For Sef, grit during this particular season of his life meant this, “Grit, for me, is having the consistency to just keep improving and believing in myself despite the curveballs life throws at me.”
Sef was true to his words and eventually, his time to finally take that leap of faith from grit to great came.
A golden opportunity fell on Sef’s lap. He caught the attention of the then Chief Technology Officer/Country Manager when he was able to provide a solution to an already long overdue internet issue. From the Company Driver post, he was offered a chance to transition to a Network Associate role.
Two roles that are pretty far off in terms of scope of responsibilities, right? Albeit a daunting shift, Sef was dauntless and gave it a shot. After all, time and tide wait for none.
He shared while recounting that period of his career, “Of course, at first, I struggled. Coming from being a company driver to becoming a member of the IT Team was a huge career shift.”
Sef continued by rehashing some of the challenges he faced then. One of which was building his technological lexicon. “Adjusting to terminology, in the beginning, made me feel incompetent. It was demotivating and tiring, but it made me persevere more because I knew I could do it. Through hard work and commitment, I was able to overcome.”
In the vein of inspiring words, he said, “Sometimes opportunities like those only come once. You have to take advantage of it and seize the opportunity.”
Thought-provoking, isn’t it? It’s true. Some chances only enter your door once and must be grabbed immediately. Sef did just this despite having little to no experience and knowledge in an entirely different arena.
This experience will forever be Sef’s “life-changing moment.” Securing this role not only meant an upgrade career-wise but also financially.
The shift’s positive impact on his professional and personal life ultimately resulted in more motivation to perform better and to keep stepping out of his comfort zone.
Taking a step further into the realm of “great,” Sef was eventually promoted to Network and Security Engineer in 2019.
These were feats that he wouldn’t have imagined achieving if he didn’t bravely swerve from his initial path with CarParts.com. With great risk comes great reward indeed.
But this part of the story is only the chapter “Great.” Sef was bound for “Greater.”
Raul Martinez, Director of eCommerce Solutions, had only good words for Sef.
Ardent? Committed? Customer-centric? It seems that Sef is simply going from strength to strength. This is especially true after recently clinching the first ever EXEMPLAR Award. It is an accolade granted to employees who embody two or more of CarParts.com’s core values which are collectively called “D.R.I.V.E.N.”
On top of his already many responsibilities, Sef is also part of the lean team to set up the IT infrastructure of their new furnished office in Bonifacio Global City (BGC). Talk about being given opportunities that you can take pride in forever, right?
If there’s an overarching theme that encapsulates Sef’s journey to “greater,” it is TRUST.
For example, he has consistently displayed trust in himself—dramatically shifting careers and emerging stronger. However, no man is an island. What was also very apparent was the exchange of trust between him and management—with superiors opening doors for him while Sef feels secure that he is in good hands.
Sef never missed a beat in expressing his gratitude to those who’ve helped him along the way.
His pride was palpable when he reminisced about his career’s humble beginnings,
It is pleasing also to see that the support provided to Sef was not only bound during the onset of his new role but continues to this day.
HRBP Manager, Jay Estingor, gave more weight to the previous paragraph.
Sef achieving “greater” was possible because of CarParts.com’s high-trust culture, holistic approach and people-first mindset.
We can’t help but remember Sef’s uplifting advice to readers, “Hard work and perseverance will eventually get you to where you want to be.”
Indeed, his moxie has taken him where he wants to be—from grit to great to greater.
Where to next then?
We’re excited to see what’s beyond “greater” for Sef.
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