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Become an IDOL 73: Success Story with Marilyn Day former Career Coach

Guest: Marilyn Day,  Instructional Designer | Google

In this episode, I will be chatting with Marilyn Day, an IDOL courses Academy member who transitioned into an Instructional Designer in about 6 months landing an ID role with IDOL Talent first and then Google shortly after. She worked previously as a career coach. The search of creating something to present instead of continuously verbally repeating the same information piqued her interest in the field of Instructional Design. Hear her story of how she was able to successfully transition into this field and also serve as a coach within IDOL courses Academy. 

Listen to this episode below:

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Let me tell you a little bit about Marilyn:

Marilyn joined IDOL courses Academy in Fall of 2021. She worked full time with 2U where she helped students as a career coach. She learned about Instructional Design and was able to go through the Academy while working full time. Marilyn has two cats, Callie and Bast. Callie likes to sleep all day. Bast likes to say hi and make new friends during zoom meetings. She is re-watching the Office the the nth time while building the Lego Dunder Mifflin set. 

Connect with Marilyn:  LinkedIn

Enjoy the Episode Transcript below: 

Robin Sargent  I have here with me today, Marilyn Day, and she is one of our recent IDOL success stories. And so Marilyn, will you please do a better job of introducing yourself and give us a little background about you and where you were before you join the IDOL courses Academy?

Marilyn Day  Yeah, hi, everyone. Happy to be here today. I have always designed some sort of training in my career. I have I was doing instructional design before I knew what that was called. And most recently, before I transitioned into ideas working as a career coach, but it was during the pandemic. And so there was a lot of conversations that came up, that was the same conversation over and over. And I was like, Wouldn't it be great if I could just make one thing, give it to all my students? You know, so that we're all on the same page, I'm not having that same conversation over and over. And that's what really kind of piqued my interest in instructional design was figuring out how to make that large of an impact. So I found IDOL courses. Oh, my goodness, was it it was the fall of 2021. And I did the cohort. And it was such an amazing experience. And right away at work, they gave me more projects to do that were related to instructional design. And from there, everything just grew and grew.

Robin Sargent  Okay, so yeah, tell me a little bit more. So what kind of career coaching were you doing? Like what kind of organization where you're working at? Was it for a college or university, or?

Marilyn Day  Yeah, it was an ed tech company called 2U. And so they managed boot camp programs that partner with lots of universities, so I was working with mostly students on the west coast, but eventually from all over. And then they also worked with some grad programs. So it was also working with students who are getting a master's or going back to school after they've been in their career. So it was really cool, I get to talk to a lot of different people meet a lot of different people. But we did run workshops. And so one of the projects that I got to do was a group coaching pilot, really, we wanted to find out is this something our students would do historically, the coaching model was just one on one. And so I got to either write curriculum from scratch or take courses that were an hour and a half, and really, like get them down to a good 10 minutes of content so that most of that time that we had with the students can be used for a group coaching discussion. But we really wanted there to be a topic at the beginning of each session. So that there was some general information, everyone was on the same page. And that was a jumping off point. So that was one of the projects that I did, that was a lot of fun. Because we got that feedback right away from our students. We did surveys right after I got feedback from the facilitators. So it was like, okay, change this, tweak this. So it was really fun to like, update it all in real time as the pilot got up and running.

Robin Sargent  So now, when you went through the IDOL courses Academy you kept your same job as yes, you know, a career counselor, and or career coach. And so then while you're going through the program, part of the exercise was to work in your current position to build this group coaching. So then what happened? Did you are you still with your current company? I mean, the one that you started with Marilyn or have you gone on to become instructional designer solely, tell us what that looks like.

Marilyn Day  Yes, I've transitioned solely into instructional design, as much as I love my 2U colleagues, and they just didn't have the opportunities. Like I think once people got into that role, they're like, they were happy. It was it just unfortunately, the timing didn't work out. But I am now fully working as an instructional designer with Google for designing courses for their data centers. So it's that's been like a totally different experience because now it's fully elearning courses using a new tool called Evolve. So I know a lot of the training that I've done focused on storyline and so then it was a transition into okay, great, you get to learn evolve, which I actually like little more than storyline. I'll be honest.

Robin Sargent  A couple tools I like more in Storyline.

Marilyn Day  Yeah, so it's yeah, it's been a lot of fun. I love it because it's very short projects. Each course is 30 minutes. So I'm not you know, I'm not taking like months and months and months to get something out. It's you get one thing out the door. And then you move on to the next thing.

Robin Sargent  And so did you. Okay, so I want to go through your story. Alright, so I want to build something that's repeatable, that don't actually have to repeat out of my mouth all the time. So that's how you found instructional design. Right? And then did you know that you would be switching careers? Or was it really just about building a course or bettering your current role, and then you were sparked to switch out, like what happened once you enrolled? Or what?

Marilyn Day  So I really, I think I did want a change, because I love learning. And I think that's the great thing about instructional design is I don't get bored. There's like, I'm always learning something, even if the process is the same. Like I'm doing courses on machines, and like, how to work with machinery that like I would have never even thought to research that on my own. So it's just a lot of fun. So that was really why I was like, okay, I think this career path is going to be good for me just because it, there's usually I get bored if I do the same thing enough times. So I feel like this is a great way to avoid that. Right? I get to always be learning something new, always working with new people with like, lots of different subject matter experts. And so, so far, so good. The first year in.

Robin Sargent  Yeah, okay, so, alright, so you're like, okay, maybe I do want a career change. And so that's why you rolled it in the IDOL courses Academy, but you found it that other way. Okay, so then once you start going through, tell me about like your timeline, what you built first, just take us through your journey.

Marilyn Day  Yeah, so I started really with the do it messy. And at the time, it was the 14 days instead of steps. But it actually works at a time that I was off work for a leave of absence. So I was like, okay, of the time, I'm gonna dive in, I'm gonna get this done before I go back to work. So the timing just really worked out. So I was able to really get that first think it was that first Rise course, out the door. That was really the first one where I'm like, okay, like things are, the things are moving, like, I can do this. And then from there, it was really about refining right now I have assets. Some are really bad. Some are okay. Some are good, right? It's like so how do I, how do I make the good ones better? And then how do I start doing this a little more seriously. So that's how I talked to my manager got opportunities at work, and a great volunteer experience with rumie learn. It's r u m i e. So if anyone listening is looking for volunteer opportunities, it was just so supportive, and it was very flexible to I think they only asked for like five hours a week of your time. So that was a lot of fun. I got to write some essentially, like micro learning for their audience. And again, researching topics like, like, becoming a zookeeper or coffee, like sustainable coffee habits, right, which that actually influenced my own coffee drinking choices after I did that research. So that was the the kind of the volunteer side. And I just I keep going.

Robin Sargent  Yeah. And then as you start building your assets, you volunteered with Rumie, and then what do you do next?

Marilyn Day  Yeah, and then I landed a contract with idol talents. So that was really like my first, like, I guess, official ID project outside of my current company. And that was, you know, paid experience. And so that was really, I think I listed it as self employed, because like, at the time I was billing, like, I was invoicing for my time. So I had to be very organized and track, like, okay, here's the hours I'm working on it. Like I didn't report to manager, it was just the project manager of the project. She set us up with like, here's a time to meet with your SMEs every week. Here's what we need from you, here's your deadlines go. So it was very structured, but flexible. That makes sense. I was able to look at okay, here's my deadlines. And then like I could work at 10pm on Sunday, like if I wanted to, like get something done. And so like, that was just another again, another great experience. And that was, again, like topics that I didn't know anything about in the tech world. So it was a lot of fun to try to figure it out and, and work with the SMEs who like really knew their stuff. And I think that was the first time I got to work in a role where I wasn't also the expert and the instructional designer. I was able to work with someone else who was the expert, and just focus on designing the course.

Robin Sargent  And in IDOL Talent, that specific project I'm thinking of without giving away too much like you need the SMEs because it deals with cloud servers and whatever else, and I mean there's no way to even navigate it without SMEsing that.

Marilyn Day  Yeah, it's not something you can go learn yourself with like a 20 minute video, for sure.

Robin Sargent  And so how long did you do a contract with IDOL Talent?

Marilyn Day  I think so. I think it was supposed to be three months. But it was a little longer than that. I don't know exactly. But I was able to finish the two hour course, a storyboard, got it into Rise for them. So was able to get that delivered to them. And then right when that ended, I started my job with Google. So it just the timing worked out pretty well.

Robin Sargent  So did you applied to work for IDOL Talent and Google kind of the same time and they were interviewing while you were working? How did that work out?

Marilyn Day  Yeah, so the the role of the Google's it's actually like, like a contract through another, like another company is paying me but like, I'm at Google. Yeah. And so I actually got it through LinkedIn, through somebody I knew at the Academy. I don't even know how but I think, just through all the connections, I saw somebody say like, hey, we're looking for an instructional designer in the Portland area. And I just messaged them, we had an interview. And then a week later, they offered me the job. So that was just like it was a whirlwind. But it's definitely because of the contacts that I made at IDOL. I think they'd hired IDOLs before who had worked with them and had a great experience. So like that. I mean, they didn't tell me why they hired me, but I'm assuming that definitely had a part. And you know why they selected me for an interview.

Robin Sargent  I think with that company that you're talking about the staffing agency that contracts with google, I think we've had three or four other IDOLs work for them on Google projects before?

Marilyn Day  Yeah, yeah.

Robin Sargent  But I'm sure that might have helped you get an interview or something. But you are the one who had to win that job, Marilyn, they give you a test or it was just one interview and done.

Marilyn Day  One interview and it which was, I was so thankful for, talk to Robin, because I'd gone through some process where it was like, months of meaning with somebody meeting with the team, building them a project, walking them through the process, right. So like, it was just so nice to have a process where like, they knew exactly what they wanted, what they were looking for. I just kind of walked her briefly through a project in my portfolio as part of the interview, and like that was enough information for them to make a decision. So not all interviews that she liked. But it was, I was very thankful that it was finally like a fast process.

Robin Sargent  I mean, that's incredible. So did you when did you quit your job? Were you working your full time job while doing the contracts? Or?

Marilyn Day  Yes, I definitely had a very supportive manager. And then with that job, to basically I, I scheduled a half an hour coaching sessions with students when they through Friday. So that's what I get, like I said, 10pm on Sunday, like the flexibility with that was perfect, because as long as I didn't work on it, when I was meeting with students, it worked out really well. But yeah, for sure, I wanted to hang on to, you know, the job and the benefits. So I was able to switch to something else.

Robin Sargent  Yeah, no, very smart. Okay. And so then, once you got hired at Google, did they ever tell you what made you kind of stand out to them? Did they say like, oh, we loved your portfolio or giving you any hints?

Marilyn Day  Yeah, they did. She did say she really liked my portfolio during the interview. So and again, that portfolio was reviewed by IDOL, right, pure feedback, and then coach feedback. And each of the projects had that feedback cycle as well. So like, I, always shout it from the rooftops. Anybody wants to get inside DM, like, you got to check out IDOL courses.

Robin Sargent  That is so cool. Okay, so now you've gotten into the job, and I am pretty sure that the job for the contract with Google is different from the type of work you did for IDOL Talent, because I gotta admit, like, Yes, I talked with IDOL Talent. Like, that's no joke. You're kind of thrown into the deep end on that contract. You agree, right. And so yes, what were you kind of, I'm sure that it was kind of night and day, but like, what were some of the things that you were surprised about Marilyn or like delighted or, I don't know, raise your eyebrows. What was it about your current job?

Marilyn Day  Yeah. So my current position it puts a lot of responsibility on the SMEs to create the content, which I hadn't come across before. And it so is like I do like writing, but it's also a nice break from it. So we really we meet with them, we we consult with them, we do a lot of work helping them write the objectives. Because otherwise it's understand, understand, understand, we're like, okay, let's, let's really figure out what is the goal? What is the outcome? And if it is understanding something, like, just asking the right questions, really pull out what it is that they're wanting the outcome to be so we do a lot of that, but then really, they're responsible for the content of the course. And then I get to really develop that into the eLearning course. So I do a lot of cleaning up of grammar. A lot of the courses are translated. So we also have to follow a style guide. Right? No contractions, just little things that I wouldn't think about other if it wasn't being translated, right. It's like, how do we keep this simple, make it very clear in plain language, and then I get to have a lot of fun doing graphic design. So we use Figma, which I had never used before. And every now and then I have to open up Photoshop, because Figma doesn't do everything, but it does a lot. It's basically like a giant canvas that you just get to play on. So I get to, you know, take the photos that they give me the images, the screenshots, really transform them. And then we do create at least one interaction per module. So we give some interactivity to the courses, but it's not just clicking for the sake of clicking right. It's really, how do we chunk out this content? So the learner can stay focused on one thing at a time.

Robin Sargent  So what do you like, What do you like the best? Now that you are in it, Marilyn. What lights you up?

Marilyn Day  Yeah, I think it's the pace of it. I think it's just getting to do something new every couple of weeks. Obviously, some projects go a little longer than others based on the availability and other priorities that they're juggling. But I like that I get to really have an impact on a lot of different people in a lot of different places. And then that I don't have to really like stick with that one thing for months and months, like I get to put it out in the world. And then I get to do something new again.

Robin Sargent  It's so satisfying. Isn't it? Look, look look what I got to build. That's how I feel to. I understand that feeling. Okay. And so, Marilyn, I mean, it really just seems like in your journey, you just everything clicked along. Was there any kind of struggle that you went through? I mean, I'm sure there was, but like, would you put a name on it? Was there anything that you that was hard for you?

Robin Sargent  I mean, and for you to Marilyn, I mean, we didn't even talk about how many other interviews you had. But it almost seems like who even cares about the other ones if you got a contract at Google.

Marilyn Day  Right. Yeah, and that's the thing is like, you care about it when it's happening. Because it's, it's that disappointment of like, oh, it's helping this is the one but then, yeah, now on the other side, looking back, I'm like, yeah, like, I probably shouldn't have spent so much time thinking about it after it was done and just look forward. Like, look at that next opportunity.

Robin Sargent  I know because, exactly, it's like, you had no idea just what the outcome was gonna be. And now you're like, oh, you know, past Marilyn didn't need to fret so much.  Right around the corner. So now that you've been so how many interviews did you have? Because we It kind of sounds like you know, the way we told the story, it almost seems like oh, yeah, just you know, work for IDOL Talent. I got Google. So how many other interviews you think you went through.

Marilyn Day  A lot. Like I don't know, I don't know an exact number. But like I would say, there was a good probably like four or five companies that I had multiple rounds with. And then two simultaneously. And that was a tough month, because like they were progressing, like at the same time, like the same week. So I remember I spent two days building a Rise course for one and then like, put together a presentation for the other company. And I was like, I've got to space these out. This is too much at once. 

Robin Sargent  Homework they're giving you.

Marilyn Day  Yeah, exactly. So yeah. And so it was a lot. But I would also say some of it was just also like that first intro call, like figuring out if it's something I even want to do. So there's also that to remember, like, is this the job I want? So that first call was the recruiter. Some people counted as an interview. Some people don't. But I definitely think it's valuable to find out like, Is this for me?

Robin Sargent  Were there any that you just rejected on your own?

Marilyn Day  Yeah, there was one company that I don't want to name them. But the pay was really low. And they wanted to build like a 30 minute storyline course about outdoor survival skills. And like they sent like a whole scripts, and this was for an insurance company. So I'm like, when are they going to need anything about outdoor survival skills and they want to do to, like, record the script. They wanted you to to make all the animation like this is like a full on project that should already be in everyone's portfolio. And I was just like can you use what I have? And they're like, no, everybody has to go through the same process. And I was like, I'm good. Like, for the pay they were offering it just wasn't worth the investment to essentially build them a course that they'll never use.

Robin Sargent  Yeah, that was their test. Yeah, even the fact that they built a poor assessment was probably indication enough that you're like ehhh.

Marilyn Day  Right, yeah. Like I could say, if they were like, build us five minutes of any part of this. Sure. But like they want to like the whole, the whole shebang.

Robin Sargent  Okay, so you're on the other side of it. Marilyn, I mean, you did it. And so before I have you give us your best piece of advice. Tell us. Tell me. How long exactly did it take from you enrolling in IDOL courses Academy to your first contract with IDOL Talent? How long was that?

Marilyn Day  I think that was maybe only about six months.

Robin Sargent  It was six months before you got your first contract.

Marilyn Day  Yeah. And it worked for me, right? Because I was working full time. So it wasn't on like full on. Like, I gotta get this right away. I was like, I'll get it when I get. So for me, that was a pretty still pretty fast turnarounds.

Robin Sargent  Yeah, I mean, if you're taking, you know, a leisurely pace, and you still lay in your job in six months. That's pretty incredible. So you've been through it, Marilyn, and you are about to come become an IDOL course Academy coach for us. You'll start this next cohort. And so now that you're all the way to this place in your journey, I want you to give your best and final advice for those who are looking to become an idol.

Marilyn Day  I think my best advice is to just take action. And that's why I love do it messy, whether it's to make something new or to just send your send your resume out, right, even if your resume is bad, or you don't like it, like just start sending it because you don't know if it's working until you try. So just like take action don't get stuck in that kind of like perfectionist mindset. Because you can always tweak as you go, you can always get that feedback and improve. But if you wait and wait and wait, you're just never gonna get any forward momentum.

Robin Sargent  You are exactly a testament of that advice, Marilyn. And thank you so much for coming here and sharing your story and being a part of our idol team.

Marilyn Day  Thanks. Thank you for having me.

Thank you so much for reading the show notes for this episode.  If you enjoyed this episode, you may like:

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