A firefighter fears getting lost in a burning building. The electricity has been cut and the unfamiliar rooms are dark and filled with smoke. The water hose becomes the fireman’s lifeline. Disoriented, he or she can follow it back to the truck, safety and air.
Steve Story, a volunteer firefighter, was inside a burning building. “I did the one thing you should not do – I dropped the hose. And the hose moved. It was my scariest moment as a firefighter.”
Steve found the hose again, and made it back safely. While scary, he takes it in stride. “You get a fire call at 2:30 in the morning, it’s 10 degrees outside and miserable weather. And the dispatcher says something about ‘house fire, flame, not sure if kids are involved,’ so it’s search and rescue. A call like that very quickly narrows your focus.” And teaches one how to deal with stress.
Finding his Way into a New Career
When he’s not volunteering to fight fires – or in his other role for the Milton-Freewater (Oregon) Volunteer Fire Department as instructor – Steve is a team lead at the local SYKES call center. He began his SYKES career as an agent and was promoted to team lead less than one year later. It has gone well – his team has scored number one since June.
With no previous call center experience, Steve was in the process of selling his house and planning to move in late 2016. “So, I’m sitting around the house remodeling, and got a little bored. SYKES wasn’t very far from me, and I thought, what the heck, I’ll just go over there until my house sells.”
His success at SYKES turned out to be its own lifeline leading back to a new career.
Igniting Passion in His Team
He sees his role as team lead as not only pushing his team to perform well, but to challenge them to grow. “I always encourage my team to be leaders, to be mentors, to help others. If you learn something, you can teach. You can help someone else become a success. And instead of just being a person who gets a paycheck, you are one person helping 10 others, who then go on to help even more people. It self-perpetuates.”
Fired Up for Community Service
Steve sets a good example when it comes to helping others, not only with his volunteer work for the fire department, but also in bringing SYKES and the fire department together to help the local community. “We had this idea for a car wash,” he says, to benefit the local girls’ softball league. “We put a fire truck at one side of the parking lot, and one on the other end.” Cars would drive past the first to get the initial rinse, drive to the middle for washing by the team and volunteers, and then past the other firetruck for a final rinse. Together they raised about $700 for the teams. “That’s one of the benefits of volunteering for an organization like the fire department,” Steve laughs. “They have cool toys. And then you can involve SYKES and try to make it a better community for everyone. It worked out great.”
SYKES is Opportunity for Everyone
After having found his own new career at SYKES, Steve has advice for anyone else considering a career there. “SYKES is an open opportunity for anyone. If you can make a positive connection with people – regardless of who you are or what you look like – you can be a success. With a corporation of 55,000 people worldwide, there’s really no limit to your future.”
Started at SYKES: December, 2016
First Position: Call Center Agent
Position Now: Team Lead
Current Duties: Supports and inspires a team of agents to grow.