My Name Is Shalleen Mayes — This Is Why I Joined Aha!
“Should I stay or should I go now?…” Just six months ago, the lyrics to that song by The Clash were running through my head all the time and driving me crazy. I had worked for nearly five years for a great company, and I should have been happy to stay. But I wasn’t.
I needed to change something in my life. I needed to shake things up.
I wanted to be a writer, ever since I was young. I practically lived in the public library, checking out towering stacks of books every week. I wrote short stories and cranked out my own little newspaper, The Sinclairsville Gazette. I thought I wanted to write for Rolling Stone or Vanity Fair, but revised those plans when I realized that I probably wasn’t cut out for life in New York.
I earned a journalism degree from Kent State University, got married, and started my career, working as an editorial associate for a nonprofit association and a marketing writer for a local manufacturer. That experience helped me land my last full-time position as a marketing writer for a business application SaaS company, where I worked for nearly five years. For the most part, I was content.
“If I go it will be trouble….if I stay it will be double….” Fast forward to six months ago. It had been a difficult time for my family. My husband had just lost his mother after a long illness, and my mother was recovering from a difficult surgery. To top it off, I was no longer content at my job. I felt like my career was stuck in neutral, and I missed being at home.
What was I going to do? Staying put would have been the safest option. But I could not get the thought of leaving out of my head.
“Come on and let me know…should I stay or should l go?” Finally, my husband said that my happiness was more important than anything else, and that we would be fine until I found something else. That was alI I needed to hear.
I left without having an offer for a new job, but I knew it was something I needed to do. I did not know exactly where I would land, or when, but I knew I wanted to work someplace great.
Those few weeks off gave me the chance to think about what I really wanted. I realized that if I was going to continue writing as a career, I needed to be challenged. I wanted to keep getting better and better, and I wanted to be part of something really awesome. I also wanted to be available to my family whenever they needed me.
“Does this job really exist?” I thought.
Then one morning I remembered Aha! I had been following Brian de Haaff’s articles on Linkedin, and they always resonated with me. I liked what I saw in what he was writing and the company he was building. I grabbed my laptop and followed a link to the careers page and saw that they were looking for a writer. Bingo.
“What do I have to lose?” I thought. And with that, I fired off a concise note and my resume.
I heard back almost immediately.
The first time I spoke with Keith and then Brian, I felt right at home. They were straightforward, friendly, and down-to-earth. I could tell that this company had set a clear direction and they were following it. And they were growing faster than any company I ever knew. I wanted to join them on their journey (and make it mine as well).
Now as a content writer for Aha! I can write from my kitchen counter right here in Ohio. It’s true when they say that you can “work from anywhere and be happy.” My kids get to see me every day, whether they want to or not. I do not feel pulled in two different directions any longer.
I am being challenged on a daily — sometimes hourly — basis and I have never been more satisfied. I get to work with smart, kind, friendly people at a great, fast-growing company. I can write and be happy, and my career is rockin’ once again.
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.