Photo of Homes in San Francisco

Does the idea of transitioning to a new career in a new city seem daunting? Brittney Kerner is a current GrowthX Academy student who recently took the plunge after starting a successful career in accounting. Here’s what she has to say about making the big move.

I checked off all the boxes: I went to a respectable college, have a master’s degree and I am a licensed CPA. After college I went to work as an auditor for one of the Big Four accounting firms. Then I took a job with a Forbes billionaire, where I  was responsible for building out their accounting operations. It was an incredible opportunity, especially since I was so early in my career. I could support myself financially. I had great friends and an amazing boyfriend. My family was only a three-hour drive away. What was there to complain about?

Still, something was missing. I wasn’t interested in or excited about working in accounting. My job and my life felt safe and predictable. I’d lived in Dallas for nine years — only a few hours away from Oklahoma City, my hometown. Though I’d had the opportunity to travel, I’d really only lived in those two cities. I wanted experience a new place, and I had an itch to take a risk for once in my life.

One of my closest friends from college is always moving to different parts of the country. It’s something I always admired about her, and I realized that I could do the same. I wasn’t excited about accounting, and I already knew it was time for a career change. Why not go for it all — a new career in new city?

Time For a New Adventure

I had never been here, but I had my eyes set on San Francisco. It just felt like a perfect match. People are always out walking, the views are gorgeous, and the food is some of the best in country. The startup culture in SF lends itself to open workspaces and people bring their dogs to work. Everything sounded great!

I visited once and I was sold. San Francisco has a big-city feel but plenty of neighborhoods with more relaxed vibes. It’s beautiful, and I loved it! After just one visit to SF, half of my puzzle was figured out.

Now I needed to find a job in San Francisco.

Fortunately I was introduced to several people who helped me think about different career paths. They exposed me to data science, coding, sales operations and lots of great opportunities. Because of my accounting background, someone suggested I look into sales operations, since it requires a combination of analytical, strategic and tactical skills — good fits with my previous experience. 

Taking the Plunge with GrowthX

A few weeks later, I met Sean Sheppard, who told me about GrowthX Academy. As a student I would work on real projects for startup companies. It would be great way see first-hand what a job in sales operations would be like and to learn the skills necessary to be successful in the role. I’d have the GrowthX Academy team and their extensive network to guide me along the way. 

It seemed promising, but I was still hesitant to take the plunge. I decided to apply for an accounting job just in case and interviewed the week before I made my final decision to join GXA. Right before my interview Sean said, “For you to take another job in accounting would be like you shifting seats on the Titanic. Either way it’s going down.”

It made me laugh, and I knew he was right. Why would I set myself up to be on a sinking ship? I decided to go for it. GXA, here I come!

Sometimes You Get Lucky

I’d heard horror stories of how hard it was to find an apartment in San Francisco. I was told that you should show up with cash, and that perfect credit and an expertly-crafted rental resume were required. I was stressed.

The first night of my housing search, I went on Craigslist and responded to the first ad that interested me and fit my budget. The apartment photos were beautiful — so much so that it crossed my mind that it might be scam. Five minutes after I sent the email, I was FaceTime-ing with two friendly, super-cool chicks. They gave me a tour and said the place was mine if I wanted it.

Crash Course in SF Living

I decided to move to San Francisco a full week before GrowthX Academy started, to get the lay of the land and figure out where the essentials are. I’m glad I made that decision. During the first week of the program, I was able to focus on the material we covered in class, instead of worrying about getting around and finding the gym and the supermarket.

Overall, I had a smooth transition to the city. I quickly learned a few things after I arrived:

  • Don’t call it “San Fran” — it’s SF.
  • It’s been said that “the coldest winter you will you ever spend is a summer in San Francisco”. It’s true. Always bring another layer.
  • If you love coffee, burritos, or ice cream, SF has the best of all three.
  • You don’t go on walks, you go on “hikes.” Prepare to feel the burn.
  • Yes, that person is naked.
  • The beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge gets me every time.

For more on moving to SF, GrowthX Academy has a useful guide to living in the Bay Area.

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