Leaving the Classroom 34: Day in the Life of a Corporate ID with Samiya Hai

Dec 12, 2023

Leaving the Classroom: A Transitioning Teacher Podcast

Leaving the Classroom 34: Day in the Life of a Corporate ID with Samiya Hai

In this episode of Day in the Life of a Corporate ID with Samiya Hai, Kristi Oliva interviews her friend Samiya about her career transition from teaching to becoming an instructional designer. 

Tune in to hear:

- How Samiya decided to make the change from her 15-year teaching career after returning to the classroom after the pandemic

- That through the IDOL courses Academy program, Samiya was able to get her first instructional design job at Cigna within 6 months of starting the program

- Some of the skills Samiya brought over from teaching, like relationship building and being a self-starter, that served her well in her corporate roles

 

Listen to the episode here:

Connect with Kristi on LinkedIn

Connect with Samiya on LinkedIn

This podcast is sponsored by IDOL Courses and is the only authorized vocational school and implementation program of its kind that not only shows you exactly how to create your job application assets and build a portfolio from scratch, but also includes credentials, mentorship, expert coaching, and paid experience opportunities in corporate instructional design and online learning for life! Learn more about the program here.

 

Enjoy the podcast transcription:

Kristi Oliva  

Welcome to leaving the classroom. This is a podcast for teachers who are ready to transition out of the classroom and into a new career. Each week I'll share stories about what I've learned moving from education to the corporate world. I'll answer the most common questions and share my best tips to help you get started. If you are considering leaving the classroom, this show is for you. 

Kristi Oliva  

Hello, everyone. Welcome to Leaving the Classroom. I'm Kristi Oliva and I'm so glad you're here. Today's topic is a day in the life of a corporate ID and I have a special guest here to talk about it. Today, I have with me Samiya Hai member of IDOL courses Academy, a corporate ID and one of my best friends. Welcome, Samiya!

Samiya Hai  

Hi, Kristi! Thanks for having me. I'm so excited. 

Kristi Oliva  

Yeah, I'm glad you finally got to be on the podcast. So you know that we have lots of teachers as our audience on Leaving the Classroom. So I know you're a former teacher. So can you just talk us through like, how you decided to make the change, how you got introduced to IDOL, what kind of teacher were you? And tell us how you got out. 

Samiya Hai  

All right, well, let's start with... let's start with where I started, right, which is, I was a teacher, a business teacher for 15 years, and I taught career technical education programs... courses, anything business or computer related. I did that for 15 years. It was great. I liked that and I bounced around a lot because business teachers are hard to... it's hard to find a position as a teacher there. But I did that for several years. But you know, teaching was my second career. I actually was... worked in my family business, and we had a manufacturing business. So I did that.

Then I went into teaching and now corporate ID is my third career. So just like everyone else in 2020, right after the pandemic, and we were going back to the classroom, I kind of was done. I was done with the whole thing, like I didn't want to go in. I have an autoimmune condition and unfortunately, I couldn't be in the classroom everyday like you need to be. And because there's no flexibility in education in that sense, like you can't like go in and out like three days a week. I started looking into what else I could do. Now, instructional design, it wasn't like... I didn't discover what instructional design was in 2020. Actually, back in 2015, I had started a program but I didn't really follow through with that, because I started another job. So in 2020, I joined IDOL, in September 2020 and I met you in 2020. And I just spent my time looking up how I could transition into instructional design, how do I get out of the classroom? And IDOL was very... a crucial element that I was missing through my journey. And then when I found it, it just kick started everything. I started developing my portfolio, going to mentor sessions, doing all the things, and I just dedicated my time, anytime I could get to do that. So in 2020, I joined IDOL, and then I wrote myself a goal and I emailed it to you. And I...

Kristi Oliva  

Oh, that's right.

Samiya Hai  

Remember that? I still have that. I emailed it to my accountability partners in IDOL, like the Facebook group with all the teachers. And I emailed it out, and I said I was gonna, like, get out of education in six months. And that would have put me at February 2021. And I was gonna get an instructional corporate instructional design job. And it happened, but it didn't just happen. I dedicated a lot of time and work into that. And yeah, that's how I ended... I don't want to get too much into the weeds, but I mean...

Kristi Oliva  

So when did you actually get out? Did it happen by February like you wanted? 

Samiya Hai  

Yeah, it did. Yeah! 

Kristi Oliva  

In February that you got your job offer?

Samiya Hai  

Yes!

Kristi Oliva  

I love that. 

Samiya Hai  

Yes. I think...

Kristi Oliva  

I love stories like that. 

Samiya Hai  

I think... were you the first... you were the first person I called. Yeah, I remember like called... I had not heard from the company. It was Cigna. And then I was like, Oh, maybe I didn't get it was my first bla bla bla, interview, and then they call me and offered me the job. And I hung up and then I called you. And I was like, you're not going to believe it. And then I kept going back to the fact that I wrote that goal down, you know, so it was like, yeah, and then I started... so I got my offer in February and then I started at Cigna in March. So it was...

Kristi Oliva  

It counts, it counts.

Samiya Hai  

It totally counts. What? Yeah, it totally counts. Yeah.

Kristi Oliva  

Okay, so walk us through now like you started at Cigna, like, are you still at Cigna? What have you done since then? Are you still in instructional design because that was a little bit ago? 

Samiya Hai  

Yes. So I am still an instructional designer. I do not work at Cigna. I currently work at New York Life Group benefit solution, which is... they offer you know, it's an insurance company. So you know, all the different insurance products and I develop... I work in the Learning and Knowledge Management Center of Excellence. And I actually... November 7th, so in a couple of days, I've been there a year. So I actually started there, like a year ago. Funny thing is that I've only been really doing instructional design for just over two years. It's kind of interesting to see how fast that time flies but so I'm there right now. And with the L&KM team here, we actually are more I want to say like program managers and instructional designers at the same time. So it's kind of like these two pieces. Not just doing... quite different from the role that had at Cigna, which is, I felt like I was a little bit more of an order taker at Cigna. Like, they would hand it over to me and I'd develop it or, you know, whatever the guidelines are. Here, I'm like going from start to finish. So scoping out the entire project and doing the entire thing from presenting it to senior leadership to get you know, that buy in and get that sponsor, all the way to development, to implementation to evaluation, like the entire thing from start to finish, including like marketing it and all the things like... It's a great opportunity. I'm so happy with my position right now, just because I feel like I'm really stretching and growing and very uncomfortable. And I think that discomfort brings growth. So that's what I do now. And I do some freelance work some... now and then, but I don't think freelance is my thing. I really prefer working at a nine to five. And I'm putting that in air quotes right "nine to five." But yeah, so that's what I do now. I love it. I love what I do right now. So I'm really glad to be at New York Life, so...

Kristi Oliva  

Can you tell us a little bit about like, what? Like what parts of the project you're handling? Can you maybe just give us... I know it's hard to give like what a typical day is like, but it's one of the biggest questions we get. So if you could... like what does a typical day or week look like for you? I know you like... you get your calendar all organized. So what is made up of that calendar that you're doing each day?

Samiya Hai  

Okay. I would say a typical day or week... actually start with the day. On occasion, not on occasion, on like... most days, I have meetings, right? So I'm either meeting with a stakeholder, a SME, sometimes and a lot of times, because I'm that type of person, I have great like... collaborate with my colleagues, because I don't like working in a silo. So I'll have meetings like that. And I'm not just working on one project, I'm working on several little things, collaborating with my colleagues. So that's why that ends up happening. I spend a lot of time... development, design. A lot of design, first, and then development, lots of communication. So my day is usually based around that. The meetings part can be ebb and flow. It's not always like every week, it's the same, but every day is like, it's a mixture of those things. I wouldn't say that it's every day is stressful, because of the amount of development work or design work you have to do.

But you have to... you have these like, you have to manage your time very well. And I think that's a big part of my day on a daily basis is managing my time and ensuring that I'm hitting certain goals for that day so that I stay on track with projects. So essentially, what it is. I do feel like I use in this position here, I spend a lot of time doing deep work, if that, if that makes sense. Deep work means like, really sitting there and designing a solution, and then having to carefully prepare the presentation for that solution and getting that buy in. And the only reason why I'm saying that for my current position is because our group, our team is slightly more... it's a little bit new at this company. So because of that, we spend a lot more time getting buy in and building that trust and relationship with our stakeholders. So I spend a lot of time doing deep work of presentations and developing and designing those solutions. But I mean, yeah, it's great. I love that. I do a lot of research too, a lot of reading and looking stuff up to implement things. So... That's usually my typical day.

Kristi Oliva  

So you named a lot of things that I know I can see came from teaching or connect to teaching. But can you like spell that out for us? Like what would you say are like some of the biggest traits you've brought over from teaching and been able to apply them directly to your corporate roles? And then I think I'll ask you after that, like, maybe some that you struggled with too that like were new for you when you came into corporate?

Samiya Hai  

Sure. I think the very first thing is relationship building. I think that's one thing as teachers that we were really good at which is, you have to get to know so many different personalities in your classroom and in your department and the larger school. And you have to build those relationships. So relationship building is one thing that as a teacher I was really good at, that I was able to bring over to corporate and I was... I'm good at. So, I'm really good at building that rapport and trust with the people I work with, you know? And then I think another thing is... and this sounds like a cliche term, but being a self starter is really important. Because as a teacher, I don't know about you, but it wasn't like I had a ramp up period to get my classroom going. It was just like, here's your classroom, go!

Kristi Oliva  

So true. Oh, my God.

Samiya Hai  

Godspeed. You know?

Kristi Oliva  

It's so true, that you say that though? Because in corporate, there's always like this onboarding time. And I can't relate that to anything in teaching where you get like, I mean, maybe during your student teaching, but that's not the same. You're not even at the same school. That's so funny. I've never thought of that. There is no like onboarding.

Samiya Hai  

Nope. There's none. Not even student teaching. I mean, maybe you get a little bit more experience because you have a master teacher. But, you know, some people don't get that opportunity for student teaching. I didn't. I was just thrown into the classroom.

Kristi Oliva  

Like, especially these days. 

Samiya Hai  

Yeah.

Kristi Oliva  

There's a lot of people not getting it. 

Samiya Hai  

No. So being that self-starter, right. I think that's important because as a teacher, you go in and you start learning right away and fix things as you go and like kind of adapt. And then here in corporate, it's the same thing. You get in. You gotta see where things are. You got to learn people, you got to do your training on your own, you know, all of the things, but at least they're not putting in your lap, a project from day one. And I think that's a big thing. Like, I think teachers are successful at. You sit there and you think... I don't know about you, but like my first like, 30 days, I was like, umm so what do I do now? You know, I've done all the  training.

Kristi Oliva  

It feels like you don't have anything to do. Yeah, I even said that, like, my third corporate job here at Amazon. I remember just being like, what did they hire me for? There's nothing to do. And they had plenty for me to do, but they were giving me time to acclimate myself.

Samiya Hai  

Yeah! What? What do you mean? 

Kristi Oliva  

So funny!

Samiya Hai  

You mean you're not just going to throw me to the wolves? What? You know?

Kristi Oliva  

I never related that before so that's hilarious. Wow.

Samiya Hai  

And I think that another thing is adapting to your environment. I think as teachers, you have to adapt. I was a high school teacher for 15 years. I don't know how people teach elementary school and I bet elementary school teachers are like, I don't know how you did high school. And God bless the middle school teachers. So... I don't even know how you guys deal with that but in high school teaching, you know, you get like six periods or whatever. And from first period to sixth period, your lesson looks completely different, right? Because you're just adapting and tweaking, tweaking and tweaking and tweaking, you know, and I feel like, that has been a really, you know, being able to deal with that little bit of ambiguity.

And adapting to that situation is a good skill, because you don't know how somebody is going to react to something. Or once you've put it out there, and you publish the course, you're like, Oh, dude, no, this is not... I could do this better, I could do this way better. From the first course I developed at New York Life to what I developed recently, it's such a difference that I'm gonna go back to my first course and reiterate that. So I think that adaptability throughout your whole like, cycle in your company is a big one. You also asked me about things that I struggle with.

Kristi Oliva  

Yeah, like what's the hardest thing, inserting into the corporate world that you're just like... because I know for me, I feel sometimes, like should I have already known this? Do they think I already know this? And now, like, even in this new transfer role that I just got, it's still within Amazon and she gave me this whole list, my new manager did. All these terms. And she said, Why don't you like write your familiarity, and I said, to be honest, I think I'm gonna have to put, not familiar at all with all of these. And I was so scared that she'd be like, Oh, crap, I made the wrong hire.

Samiya Hai  

Yeah, you know what I struggle with? What I struggled with was the fact that they treat you like an adult. And that was abnormal, in the sense that... Oh, you mean, I don't...

Kristi Oliva  

So you're struggling with that because they... because you're not used to it? 

Samiya Hai  

I'm not used to being like... you know some people will disappear online. Like some of your colleagues are away for a little bit, but they'll pop back online later, right? And you're just like, what? You know, but then you realize something that they trust you to do the work. And so I struggled for the first year. I thought I had to be glued to my computer. And to a certain extent I did, because I did need to understand how things work and I was trying to learn different things. And I was still learning... I mean, come on, you know, I jumped into instructional design quite... IDOL for six months, and then got my job. Like, I still had a lot to learn. So I spent a lot of time learning and doing things. But I struggled with the fact that I can walk away from my computer. I can go use the bathroom when I want to. I can go and take a walk if I need to... I can go pick up my kid. And so I mean, those are the things I struggled with. 

Kristi Oliva  

Yeah. 

Samiya Hai  

That whole thing like, should I already know this? That's another thing. You know, I constantly felt like I was writing down all the things I need to learn, and putting that pressure on myself. But I realized that that's just not my style of doing things. When I get to it, I will learn it. So that's something else. I think there's also blind spots that I have still and I am going to... it's a part of my... it's a part of my teaching thing for 15 years, like I don't... It's like, I don't know, do you have your master's degree? 

Samiya Hai  

Do you have your masters? Okay. You know teachers are constantly learning, we're constantly getting a master's degree, or we get our admin credential, or we get something else, we get something else. And you feel like, I'm going to be more confident when I know this. I'm going to feel more confident because I got the certification. I'm going to be more... and not necessarily true. And that's how I feel here. Like, I feel like I need more certifications, or I need more education, to feel confident and that's not going to come from those things. It's going to come from myself. And so I struggle with the confidence to present my ideas. Because I just feel like oh, well, they've been doing it longer than I have. So...

Kristi Oliva  

I mean that's super common. I don't think we lose that so easily. And then we also deal with the fact that we're women. And there's a whole nother set of research around just women struggling with impostor syndrome, not just teachers. So we're teachers and women like we have this crazy imposter syndrome, like, weight on us.

Samiya Hai  

It's funny, and I work with so many women. Like, my team is primarily made up of women, and we have a couple of men, and they're fantastic. So I don't know, it's very interesting. Even the most confident person still feels like they don't know what they're doing. So it's just, it's something from within I think. Yeah.

Kristi Oliva  

I think it's just something we have to learn to live with. 

Samiya Hai  

I think we also need to forgive ourselves. We could say something and if it doesn't work we should be able to just take it back and be like, Okay, I'll just try something different. And that's something we need to work on, I think. But yeah, yeah.

Kristi Oliva  

So obviously you've worked for some impressive companies... still do. And so if a teacher out there is like, how did she get that job? Where did you look? How did you get these jobs? Like, give us more about like, how did that happen?

Samiya Hai  

Okay, so through IDOL, I learned how to create a really nice LinkedIn page and LinkedIn profile and put that in and before that, I did not have that. And so I spent time, a lot of time on LinkedIn, trying... making connections, looking at jobs, finding somebody that was within that company, and doing it that way. So I feel like for me, LinkedIn was the biggest way for me to actually connect with individuals and groups in there to find employment and things like that. So Cigna, though, was something like I didn't know anybody there. I was just kind of like, I'm gonna try it and I got through. And I was... I felt very fortunate that was able to do that. My current position, though, it was done through a network connection. So I had a connection through LinkedIn. And so my current like skip level... he was my skip level at Cigna and he left Cigna and he was here. And so that's how I... and I connected with him, I saw he posted it. And it was right at the time where I started feeling at like, Cigna that I could be doing more. I kind of feel like I'm kinda not doing anything, or I feel like an order taker. And that came up and called me... he got me through.

And I feel like that's really a critical piece is knowing some... you know, doing that LinkedIn profile and getting through there. And not just having connections with just teachers. Like, I think there's like a good mixture that you need to have. So I tried really hard with that. But I mean, I am not very good with social media of any type. I'm more of a lurker. I'm not a poster. I kind of lurk and I read and sometimes I'll like people's post, but I'm not big on that type of thing. I wish I was a little bit more. I think that's very helpful, though. That would be so helpful to be, you know, connecting through those things. So that's how I got my job. My advice for people would be to continue that journey and LinkedIn and really try to put yourself out there.

Kristi Oliva  

So real quick before we wrap up. Did you get a guilt trip when you left education? Yes or no?

Samiya Hai  

Yes.

Kristi Oliva  

Did you get a guilt trip when you left Cigna? 

Samiya Hai  

No. 

Kristi Oliva  

Did you get a guilt trip when you left your contract for Google?

Samiya Hai  

No.

Kristi Oliva  

Interesting. I just wrote about this on... for my next week's LinkedIn. And so I think it's an interesting new question to add to this lineup of...

Samiya Hai  

I do. Yeah. And I'll tell you what it is. It's... in the classroom, right. And the reason why a lot of us have left is because sometimes you don't feel safe. You're not feeling safe these days in the classroom. And it's a burnout situation, and, but I loved the kids, I loved the kids I worked with. Not all of them but you know, some of them were just that crazy. But like, a lot of them I really cared about. And the biggest guilt that I had was a lot of kids of my friend's kids were coming into high school when I left. And they were coming into my business program, you know, which grew like, it grew like, I was teaching four classes. All of a sudden I was teaching six classes, you know, and I was getting paid an extra little bit, but I think that was the biggest guilt was that a lot of my friend's kids were coming into high school, and I wasn't going to be there anymore. And a lot of them were sad that I wasn't going to be there, which is kind of flattering but at the same time, it was kind of weird. Like, I'm your mom's friend, you know, but Okay.

Kristi Oliva  

Yeah. Ahh. 

Samiya Hai  

But I feel like that was the guilt. It was the guilt of leaving, like people and things like that there. But with Cigna and those kinds of things, the tinge of guilt that I felt was that I was... I made connections or friends with a few people. But it wasn't so bad because everybody's used to the, you know? People come and go and I... again, you know, nobody's guilting me either. I specifically remember that my assistant principal, was starting to give me a guilt trip when I told him I was leaving. And then I was like, No, you're not doing that. I already feel bad. But yeah, um, nobody did that here. Everyone was like, hey, congratulations. I'm really happy that you're making a decision for yourself, you know? And, yeah. I think that's what it is. Yeah. 

Kristi Oliva  

Well, I'm sure people are gonna be impressed hearing about your journey. So what's the best way for people to get in touch with you if they have questions or just want to connect with you?

Samiya Hai  

Well, I did say that I'm on LinkedIn. So you can look me up on LinkedIn, Samiya Hai and send me a connection request. I do apologize that I'm a lurker and not much of a poster. But I am so willing to connect. I'm happy to connect. If you have questions, please feel free to ask me. I will do my best to answer. Yeah, but that's the best way. Other social media, I'm not on. You know, definitely LinkedIn would be the best. And my name is difficult to spell. So I'm sure if they look at your podcast title they'll be able to spell it right and then you'll be able to find me.

Kristi Oliva  

Well thanks for joining me today. Samiya, obviously, I love you. And we met through this amazing journey we've been on and so it's that much sweeter. But thanks for joining us here. 

Samiya Hai  

Oh, thank you.

Kristi Oliva  

Do you want to leave the classroom and become an instructional designer like Samia? At IDOL courses Academy we help you build your professional portfolio, revise your resume, prepare for interviews and give you valuable feedback on what you design. Sign up for IDOL courses Academy using my code classroom100 And get $100 off enrollment. It's time to take control and make the career change that will change your life. It changed mine. See you next time.

Kristi Oliva  

That's all for this episode, but you can find more at idolcourses.com or subscribe to the podcast. And if you are ready to leave the classroom, use my code classroom100 And get $100 off enrollment to IDOL courses Academy.

Send your stories or your questions to [email protected] or share them with me on Instagram  @leavingtheclassroom.

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