Beginnings are special. After two amazing years at Syracuse University learning about Data Science, Machine Learning, and interacting with some of the brilliant professors and colleagues, I began a new journey with Zoro two months back. Zoro is an eCommerce, digital-first company that sells business supplies, equipment, and tools. This is my first full-time job, and I am very grateful to the team here at Zoro for giving me this opportunity to learn and grow in the middle of a pandemic. I work at Zoro on the newly formed Enrichment team as a Merchandising Automation Analyst. I operate somewhere in the intersection of product, data, and automation to build a scalable solution to collect and enrich product information. So, if you find a product on our website without an image I am the one to be blamed.

Of course, finding a job in the middle of a pandemic was an uphill task, but I was lucky enough to have received one more offer with a brokerage firm in New York. But I choose to work with Zoro primarily because I had this weird nice vibe from the people at Zoro, and I was not sure of working in the finance sector. You might be thinking I am crazy to let go of New York and 1000s of dollars, but my intention has always been clear: people>package. So, here I am sharing my first two months at Zoro and see if I was right about my first intuition of Zoro.

“You are The Average Of The Five People You Spend The Most Time With” - Jim Rohn

Humans of Zoro 👩🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏼

Funny story, I had interviewed at Zoro for a different role around mid of March, but they decided to hire somebody internally. Instead of taking it as a setback, I took this as an opportunity to get feedback and figure out how I can improve. I was lucky enough to get feedback about my interview from Vahid, who is Sr. Search Analyst and holds a Ph.D. in Physics. I say, ‘Lucky enough’ because who provides feedback these days? Like me, Vahid is also an immigrant and one of the most down to earth and helpful person I have ever met. Unknowingly, I found a mentor in him, we kept in touch over LinkedIn, and he motivated & supported me throughout my job search. Around September the HR reached out to me regarding this role of Merchandising Automation Analyst, and I straight away contacted Vahid to learn more about the role and see if I could be a good fit. And here I am working as an Analyst at Zoro, and I couldn’t have asked for more. Even after joining Zoro, Vahid would check up on me and see how I am doing, and I am very glad and thankful to have met Vahid! Is it too soon to say that life has come to a full circle? 😛

No one in my family has ever had a corporate job, so I didn’t know what to expect from my manager aka “The boss”. So, I had developed this image in my head mainly from Indian Bollywood movies that your manager is superior, you have to behave in a certain way around him and you cannot ask a lot of questions nor disagree with his views. But I am so glad that my manager has helped me to break this myth and has encouraged me to put my views forward not only in front of him but also the President and the entire company. I had my first interaction with my manager in March, and he was just helping another team to fill an opening for a Search Analyst. During my virtual interview, he had this hangout background of phytoplankton and fishes, and he pretended like he was scuba diving, I was like if I get this job I want to get to know this chill and laid-back person. Since joining Zoro, I have asked thousands of questions about the team, strategy, benefits, revenue, profits and even getting access to different software. He could have easily asked me to contact the HR team or the technical support team instead he chose to clear all my doubts patiently and with utter transparency. He is aware of my interest in Data Science and analytics, and he’s supportive if I ever want to switch teams, and that’s the best part I like about him. You want your manager to not only be involved in your project but also in your professional progression, and I am very happy to have my manager who’s empathetic and supportive of my goals! Also, my manager’s GIFs game »» your manager’s GIFs game.

Did I mention I have the best teammate? If I am LeBron James, then she’s Dwayne Wade! I have often heard that your teammates are very competitive and jealous, and you need to outperform them to get promotions. But I am so glad this is not the case with my teammate, she wants me to grow and provides me with everything that I need to succeed. Guess I was not ready for this adulthood where I will need to understand investing and insurance stuff, but my teammate came to my rescue. To date, she has helped me with understanding health insurance, 401 K, finding housing, and even tips and strategies to keep myself organized. From day one she has been my go-to resource. I vividly remember, one day I had this mental breakdown where I felt I was not doing enough, so I asked her if she could get on a call, and I spoke about my concerns, and she guided me through it, and damn that felt so good! She has two cute dogs, Carol, and Steve. And they say if a man likes dogs he is a good man, if a dog likes man he is a good man. Get it? This week she decided to pursue a new role in another company which is related to her second Masters and I felt a little discomfort in my heart because I enjoyed her company but I am happy for her and I am certain she’ll add a lot of value in the new company!

Well, Zoro is not a perfect company in any way. It took me almost ten days to install the essential software and set up my laptop that was quite frustrating sometimes. But at Zoro, everyone likes being accountable and win together. Throughout my first two months, I met a lot of people from different teams like strategy, pricing, merchandising, data science, data engineering, and each of them was passionate, kind, and willing to help. I also got an opportunity to host weekly stand-up, lead a data-gathering initiative, and present about me and my family because the people here genuinely want to know you. There’s also a company tradition where everyone meets on a hangout call for one hour and share about the projects they are working on as well as their wins and loses. Also, people are very transparent here, for instance, we’re outsourcing some of our work, and I was curious to know how much are we getting charged, and my manager told me the exact numbers without hesitation.

Pets of Zoro 🐕

We have this slack channel #PetsOfZoro where people share cute pictures of their pets, and it’s so joyous and comforting! Imagine starting your Monday morning with these adorable pet pics

Gamers of Zoro 🎮

Everybody’s working from home, but the team has taken some great initiatives to build a connection with each other and have fun! There’s a mindfulness session where we discuss mental health. We also have a channel #AmongUs where we play among us!. Also, a channel to discuss basketball, ha-ha love it! Oh, and Zoro loves dad jokes, here’s a few of them.

I want to become a great leader, so I reached out to the leaders at Zoro to get advice, and I asked them four questions, and here are their answers:

1. What’s one book that you have read that had the most impact on you?

2. What’s one skill that has helped you to shape your career?

  • Understanding and empathizing with people
  • Being data-driven, delivering results, and being a lifelong learner
  • Curiosity

3. What’s the one skill/technology that you are learning to prepare yourself for the coming decade?

  • Data Science / ML business applications
  • Creating trusting relationships and delegation with cross-functional partners

4. What’s the one piece of advice you would have given to yourself when you were starting your first job?

  • It’s okay to fail. Failing leads to learning and self-awareness. Failing early often builds character.
  • Always have an idea of the next job that you think you would want to be in. Figure out the skills that will be necessary to get a job like that and make sure that you A) Are delivering results for the job you already have an B) Are gaining skills for the job you want next.

It feels like I am still in my grad school where there are a lot of fun things going around, but at the same time learning curve is growing exponentially. My teammates are like my roommates who’re always available to hang out and provide a morale boost. I feel appreciated here, and though Zoro may not be the top tech company, it is all I need to grow and succeed!

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