Arriving at work only to find that there isn’t an internet connection can derail your entire work day.
Unfortunately, this past July, the ezCater office experienced just that. My coworkers and I arrived at work only to find that we had no way to connect to the internet or access the systems we needed to do our jobs. But Ashlee Sparfven came in to save the day.
Ashlee is an IT Support Engineer at ezCater and provides a great example of how ezCater people are insanely helpful to their peers. Ashlee manages projects like selecting security vendors, upgrading phone systems, and handling ezCater’s network. But she also helps anyone who needs personal tech support and is incredibly resourceful. Recently Ashlee received an ezCater culture cupcake – a shout out from one of her peers for representing one of ezCater’s values – for spending wisely, when she found a way to save the company $2000 a month.
We caught up with Ashlee recently to talk about what it’s like to work at ezCater.
What drew you to working at ezCater?
I originally found ezCater through a job posting. It was written in a different way than most IT job postings, the culture showed through – there was a feeling of fun in it and a sense of autonomy. I ultimately chose to work at ezCater because there was the opportunity to develop IT from the ground up and I am an autonomous worker. Having a big say over things was very appealing. I’m still convinced it was a great decision.
What does your typical workday look like?
Every day is different! IT is an expansive role. A typical day might start with going over our open IT tickets, closing out any quick or urgent actionable ones, and prioritizing the team’s work. Then I hop into something more project-related, like a phone system roll out or admin training. Part of the day I usually end up gathering some networking related data or doing some research, and I try to do a little work towards personal IT projects that benefit IT or lower priority projects that benefit other teams.
It really depends on what’s going on that day. Some days I spend researching and project planning for projects, like video conferencing between our two floors, while other days I do network work, train co-workers on new services like Confluence, or help out with small IT problems. If it’s related to IT at all, I’m probably sticking my nose in it – and hopefully being helpful!
What is most exciting about working at ezCater?
The most exciting thing about my role at ezCater is the never ending learning opportunities. Technology is always changing and advancing, so IT is already a great field to work in if you love to learn, but at ezCater, I have the resources and freedom to explore new services, ideas, and areas of IT that I don’t usually work in. There’s always the opportunity to improve myself both professionally and just for fun.
What have you learned so far?
I started here when we were small enough to only need one IT person, which means I’ve had opportunities to do everything from building out an office to setting security standards. I have been able to really develop my networking knowledge and management skills here, which has been very interesting and valuable. Outside of IT, I’ve learned two great things related to the business world:
- A company can truly embrace transparency. In my experience, this is so rare. It’s wonderful working somewhere data driven that actually shares all of that data, explains to you what it means, and keeps everyone equally up to date.
- Culture is cultivated and cultivated carefully. The people here at ezCater are wonderful – but that takes a lot of work. You have to be selective in your hiring process, you have to work with people to develop their strengths and improve on their weaknesses, and you have to value people and be sure that value is communicated. I think it’s even more complicated than that, but ezCater works hard to keep a stellar culture.
What advice do you have for those who are looking for a position in corporate IT?
- Care. Care a lot. If you care about the people you work with you’ll do a good job, whether that’s supporting them when they encounter a small issue or choosing new networking equipment for the office. You’ll want people to be happy, and you’ll do the best you can to make that happen.
- Love learning. Always want to know more because there are lots of things you don’t know and learning them will make you that much better. It doesn’t matter how much you know, this will always be true.
- Try. Just go out and try to do things, even if you don’t know how. Sometimes the best way to learn something is to try anyway. Don’t be afraid to mess up. If you make a mistake, you’ll learn a lot from it and you’ll grow. That being said, research is really valuable, so use common sense! If you have the resources, you should use them.
What do you like about working in Downtown Crossing?
What’s not to like! It’s centrally located for all the T lines making the commute doable no matter where I move, we’re surrounded by food (and even more important, food trucks!), and there are lots of parks in walking distance. I think that my favorite thing though, is being able to walk the Commons, Greenway, or the Harborwalk during lunch depending on how I’m feeling!
What are some of your favorite things about being in the Boston area?
Boston is an amazing place. There’s always something different going on – Shakespeare on the Common, Paint Nite at a local bar, kayaking on the Charles, poetry slams in Cambridge, karaoke in Chinatown. If you do a quick search you can always find something cool and fun to do!
Interested in working at ezCater with Ashlee? Check out our job postings.