Life at Expedia Group: 9 years in a jiffy!
Richa Mihani | Senior Program Manager
It’s been 9 years at Expedia Group, and I still feel like I joined this amazing company yesterday. I vividly remember my first day, feeling so overwhelmed as a new joiner but completely fascinated by the open culture, great people, and beautiful interiors depicting travel everywhere. Despite being new and trying to jell into the new space with the new team, there was a certain sense of calm and comfort, which is still here today and makes Expedia Group feel like a second home!
Through this remarkable journey of 9 years at EG, I’ve navigated through a number of experiences, challenges, and learnings, which not only helped me grow into a better professional but also become a better person holistically.
In this blog, I am going to share 7 things that stood out for me in this journey so far that still keep me going!
1. Find a role that excites you: Being in the IT industry, it’s not always necessary for you to code or manage people or be a product manager. There is a role in-between that is a perfect blend of technology, people aspect, business acumen, and project management, which is ‘Technical Program Manager’. During my early years at Expedia group, I was sure that I wanted to pursue this as a career as I was passionate about it. I conveyed this to my manager upfront, who helped me grow into this role by guiding me throughout and providing opportunities to learn and excel in this space.
2. Empathy for travelers: I always had a passion for Travel that made me join this company in the first place. This love for travel also translates to creating empathy for travelers whenever I’m working on a new feature, or even fixing a bug. Keeping the customers’ requirements and experiences centric to everything I do really gives me a push to deliver my 100% and the motivation to look forward to work every day!
3. Learn on the job and up-skill: I feel it’s super critical to know the intricacies of your job profile and try to get better at them every single day. Be it understanding how different systems function, exploring new technologies, hands-on in troubleshooting issues, automation of project management utilities, fine-tuning agile practices for maximum output, doing relevant certifications, signing up for courses, joining skill-building sessions, etc. the list is just endless and so is the learning. I believe in the saying ‘The day your learning stops, your creative side might as well be dead!’. I make it a point that the learning continues in some form or another and isn’t stagnant at any point.
4. Growth happens outside your comfort zone: Climbing the growth ladder at a frequent pace, getting accolades for a job well done, and having everybody on your side on a tough day – sounds so hunky dory and a perfect cocktail for success, right? Not really! Dealing with failures, handling difficult situations, making mistakes, and navigating through roadblocks in your path challenge you and make you hustle which eventually leads to actual growth, both at a personal and professional level. So go out there and explore new opportunities, embrace failures, experiment with new roles/teams, make mistakes & learn from them, and take on new challenges, basically whatever makes you go outside your comfort zone will make you grow. I have followed this path at multiple points in my career and can vouch for this very strongly!
5. Work-life balance: This has been the foundation for all the above, without which reaching this point wouldn’t have been possible. As they say – a happy person returning to work will have high productivity and a person returning home happy from work will spread joy around his family. So it’s a win-win situation! Having spent so many years here, I have broken this down into 2 aspects – The skills that you learn and acquire at work help you become a better person in your personal life and vice versa. At different points in my career when I faced hardships at work and came out of them, I could see myself becoming a better version of myself who could handle difficult personal situations with so much ease, and when my roles expanded in my personal life to that of a wife and a mother, I could handle work responsibilities in a much more efficient way. Secondly, there will be phases where your work life would be more demanding and your family life takes a backseat, and then there will be phases where your personal life would take precedence over work. To me, this is the actual definition of work-life balance, and this is where Expedia Group has always supported me and stood like a rock!
6. Change is the only constant: We work in such a dynamic environment where things evolve at a very rapid pace. Though everyone likes being in control and resistance to any change comes as a first natural instinct, I realized over the years that the best approach is to go with the flow and embrace the change if the long-term implications are favorable. Your mind needs a bit of training to detach from the known and accept the newness with an open mind and heart. This is a skill that takes time to acquire and I am still learning this one!
7. Relationships beyond work: I can call myself really fortunate to have met and worked with some amazing set of people in this company, who have had long-lasting imprints in my life and rallied with me in this eventful journey. There is a wide horizon of people I have collaborated with, out of which some have been mentors, allies, friends like family, acquaintances, teammates, and partners. I am so thankful to each and every one of them, for impacting my life in a lot of different ways and helping me become the person I am today.
Last, but not the least, I couldn’t have imagined that the girl who joined Expedia Group as a fresher would be penning down her experiences of such a beautiful and rewarding journey 9 years later! Feeling so thankful for this work milestone and looking forward to many more! Onwards and upwards!
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