22 going on 40
With an average age of 40, my team is far wiser than me, a 22-year-old at the beginning of her career. This is an advantage for which I’m grateful, as I’ve learned a lot from them (including, how to down a pint as quickly as possible, DIY tips for my new house and dad jokes). Kidding aside, the beginning of a career can be quite daunting, especially for young professionals entering an industry that is as notoriously complex and challenging as the fintech space.
The term “development opportunities” may have made me roll my eyes at one time or another, however it has become something I now embrace because I’ve learned how paramount it is. In all honesty, development opportunities can often imply mundane and time-consuming tasks, which aren’t particularly attractive to someone wanting to quickly make an impact at a company. In reality, they teach the key fundamentals on subjects in the industry – before you know it, you’re enjoying the learning process without even realizing it.
These opportunities have allowed me to work on all types of fraud use cases, which have been pivotal in my role as a Product Fraud Channel Specialist. Rather than pigeonholing myself into one aspect of fraud – the world of 3DSecure, for example – I now have a much stronger understanding of how the payment ecosystem works across different fraud types and in various regions around the globe.
Pitching. Presenting. Selling. Whatever you want to call it, I still hate doing it. Like many, I’m normally a confident, loud person until I’m standing in front of a room of people and pitching to them. My mentor’s advice was always “just tell it like a story”, which translates into “pull yourself together Lauren, my 9-year-old daughter would be able to do this”, all whilst I’m mid-tantrum on the train down to the venue, where I’m about to present to a group of 100 of my peers (including the CEO). But I very quickly learnt that no matter how many times I yearned to catch the next train home or how many times I said I felt sick, I had no choice but to do it. Once I had done it, I could feel my confidence levels rise.
Its skills like presenting you do not learn until you do them, and that’s something that may never get easier for some people. In those moments however, it’s important to recognize how the support from the people around you can change a perceivable negative experience into a positive one.
The question I constantly ask myself is “where would I be today if I decided to continue my journey of becoming an accountant or deciding to go to university?” University was something I decided very quickly that I would not be the right fit for, and I know for a fact I would not have ever ended up where I am today had I not been truthful to myself and taken risks. Hats off to all of you who successfully treaded the university path; some of us just have to take a different approach and I have learnt more than I could have ever imagined about the industry in somewhat of a trial by fire.
I would not change any of it for the world. The industry insights I get just from day-to-day conversations with my team and colleagues aid my learning continually. Yes, sometimes I feel like I am 22, going on 40. Yes, some days I spend a few
(hours) minutes showing some of the more experienced members of the team how to add memes into the group Slack channel, but I also know have so much more to learn.