Tagged: How I Got Into Search

Fellow Search Insider Aaron Goldman recently wrote about how he got into search and suggested other Insiders do the same.  Since most of us like to talk about ourselves, I am agreeing with Aaron and telling you my story today.  The challenge is where to start, because I don't think it was actually my previous employment that led me to this industry.  I believe that what makes good search people good has to do with their personality.  We are highly motivated, overachievers and like our work and ourselves to be recognized.  We are comfortable on a pedestal.  In fact, that is where we prefer to be. But it isn't about putting ourselves on that pedestal, it is about others seeing us on it.

So with that said, I am going back to 1984.  The Summer Olympics were in Los Angeles that year, and I was absolutely captivated by an American gymnast from Fairmont, W.V.  I was a little girl watching gymnastics from my home, with my family, where I grew up -- in West Virginia.  Mary Lou Retton won the all-around gold medal that year.  She was the first American to achieve this spectacular accomplishment in a field historically dominated by Eastern European gymnasts.  As I watched her step onto the podium, bend down and receive her gold medal, I exclaimed, "I want to do that!"



Over the next few days, I was like a bouncy ball.  I vaulted myself over the end of the sofa and jumped off the coffee table nonstop.  My parents immediately began looking for a place to enroll me in gymnastics.  Believe it or not, there weren't many options in small-town West Virginia.  Even Mary Lou had moved to Texas to train with Bela Karolyi.  Fortunately, my parents found a gym in nearby Cumberland, Md.  It was about a 30-minute drive, and I started off with a once-a-week class.  As time passed and my skills progressed, the gym moved to Frostburg, Md.  Frostburg was a good 45 minutes to an hour from my house and my practices were now three times per week.

My parents never hesitated about making the drive, even when gas prices rose during the Gulf War.  They were both working to put four children through private school and pay for the specialized extracurricular activities we enjoyed.  For years I remember my Dad getting me off of the bus, grabbing a Made-To-Order sub from Sheetz and taking me to the bank where my Mom worked as a teller.  She would hastily balance out her drawer and come outside, I would switch cars and off we went the rest of the way to Frostburg.  By this time, I was competing regularly throughout the state of Maryland.  Most competitions were so far away, and started so early in the morning, that we had to travel there the night before the event. 

Honestly, I could write endlessly about the values my parents and the sport of gymnastics instilled in me. To spare the readers' time and so that I do not stray too far from the point, here are the two most influential factors that have led me here:

1.   My parents: They were relentless in what they did for me.  They instilled persistence in me, a can-do attitude that simply cannot be taught later in life.  They made me who I am.

2.   USA Gymnastics: a sport that many like to watch, but few will ever truly love.  Gymnastics gave me the opportunity to stand on a pedestal and receive personal notoriety for my accomplishments; but more importantly, gymnastics allowed me to share that pedestal with teammates.  I learned that sometimes the achievement with the most personal gratification is the achievement shared with others.

These are only two of the things that brought me to where I am today.  The last thing to mention is luck.  This is a pretty cool industry.  Search in always innovating and every one of us is at least a little bit lucky to have gotten into this industry one way or another.  Once here, you'd have to be crazy to leave!

3 comments about "Tagged: How I Got Into Search".
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  1. Peter Marino from, August 21, 2009 at 10:42 a.m.

    That was so interesting because bodybuilding/personal training were my former passions and work that lead me to search marketing. I can see the parallels; being on stage and posing is the same spotlight a gymnast experiences and helping others through my personal training career was the team work I also experienced. Although my parents were not very supportive I did have my brother who supported my ambitions. I agree though that being an overachiever and getting personal gratification are the most important aspects of being successful in this iundustry, but I guess these traits are important for being great in any industry.

    Peter Marino
    Senior Partner

  2. Leyla Arsan from Lotus Marketing, August 21, 2009 at 5:10 p.m.

    You lost me at "1984"

  3. Radiah Givens from Freelance-Social Media Consultant, August 22, 2009 at 12:59 a.m.

    Honestly, This article describes where you inherited your drive to do your job well, but I still have no idea how you got started in search. Sorry, you lost me....

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