42: Careers in Support with Natalie Ruhl

42: Careers in Support with Natalie Ruhl

Natalie Ruhl believes you can bake whatever career you want by selecting your ingredients carefully.


I’d love your thoughts on this episode! Comment below, and like/love/share/support if you found this inspiring, thought-provoking, or useful!

Charlotte Ward 0:13
Hello, and welcome to Episode 42 of the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. The theme for this week is career progression and support. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. Today, I’d like to welcome back my very good friend, Natalie Ruhl. Obviously, you’ve had a long career, a long and distinguished career in support Now

I’m ancient!

Absolutely, absolutely. Have you strategized for that, particularly personally, did you always see support as the place for you

Natalie Ruhl 0:54

Charlotte Ward 0:54
If it wasn’t and I don’t think it often is. I think a lot of people end up here by accident and they grow to love it. How do you help your team build careers in support, if that seems the natural place for them? And if it’s not the natural place for them what happens next?

Natalie Ruhl 1:10
Yeah. So to be quite honest with you, you know, that wasn’t my ideal career. When I was little, I for my fifth or sixth birthday, I asked for a briefcase and a twin set because I wanted to be a business lady. That’s what I wanted to be

Charlotte Ward 1:26
And very fetching in them, you do look, I must say!

Natalie Ruhl 1:31
…so no support wasn’t my first choice. But very quickly, as an agent, like figured out the things that I was good at, and then make the ways that success play to my strengths. I love solving problems, and particularly not my own. And I think it’s, you know, like, it just started to become a thing that I really, really liked. I left my first role in customer support, because I was told, yeah, sorry. “No Raise”. And this as much as we can offer, you. And I moved on to something completely different, which is online marketing that I really understood, like how transferable skills are really a thing that are massively important in the workplace these days, because I am very, very firmly of the belief that if you hire for the right attitude, a lot of skills can be taught, or most of the skills can be taught. So that’s kind of like how my growth happened. And like I kind of amassed a lot of transferable skills. And I was incredibly lucky at times as well. I got given opportunities to like, speak in front of people present things to boards and CEOs and like, be in a place where you’re in an incubator setting and you kind of get to like, consult a lot of different companies, unlike how you could build support and what could be done and why you would make these decisions. Not always, in hindsight would I say that, like my growth path was leading me to become a support leader. But it just turned out that all the things that I really wanted and that I really liked formed in this role.

Charlotte Ward 1:59
Yeah, yeah.

Natalie Ruhl 3:16
And so do I think that like, if I were to describe my absolute dream job that I would say it is a leader of support, probably not. But by the kind of tasks and responsibilities that I would lay out, it kind of would make people think that that’s probably in operations or in support, but it’s not so much to me tied to a title but more of like, what can I do or what is my remit in a certain role? What is the impact that I can have?

Charlotte Ward 3:44
You’re right is as much about just identifying the things you want to do and moulding those into a set of responsibilities that you can work on and

Natalie Ruhl 3:56
…and they are not finite or set in a cage, you know. Having a certain skill does not limit you. Well, you know, now I don’t know you can operate, you have to be a doctor. That’s not that’s not how…

Charlotte Ward 4:09
Yeah, I don’t want somebody who *wants* to be a brain surgeon fixing my brain, I want a brain surgeon. But in terms of this kind of picking the apples off the tree that you like the look of and being willing to carry them for a while. I don’t know, I don’t know how far I can run with this analogy. But take the apples home and polish it fruit bowl for them.

Natalie Ruhl 4:32
Maybe you make them into an apple pie, because that was just what worked. And you know, what I will take from this analogy is it’s oftentimes what you make of it or the opportunities you take from something, you know, in the role that I’m in. Things were thrown at me that completely caught me by surprise very early on. And the way I would say I’ve optimised support was not always an idealistic one, but sometimes a necessity based one that has shown me a lot of like different things that I didn’t think I could do that I had to do. But on the other, on the other hand, it is what you make of it and someone else in this role would have probably done something completely different and that wouldn’t have been right or wrong. You know,

Charlotte Ward 5:17
They’d have lemon drizzle cake, instead of apple pie right?

Natalie Ruhl 5:20
Exactly. Exactly.

Charlotte Ward 5:21
And you know, it’s about taking responsibility as well but it’s also about putting yourself in the places where you’re going to find apples. I mean, you’re, you know, you if you want to make an apple pie you have you have to get apples, right. So there is no point in sitting on the sofa at home saying I really want apple pie, you know, I mean,

Natalie Ruhl 5:42
If you’re not going to go out and actually either get them or make some.

Charlotte Ward 5:47

Natalie Ruhl 5:49
There is and that again is like there isn’t always just one way: you can buy apples and flour and sugar and butter and just do it yourself. Or you can just you know, there’s a nice person that bakes pie next door you can just buy some there like

Charlotte Ward 6:03
Absolutely, yeah, yeah, you don’t have to build everything from scratch either. There’s plenty of there are plenty of resources available to you by me.

Natalie Ruhl 6:11
Then people have their own recipe’s, so…

Charlotte Ward 6:12
Absolutely, absolutely. If you’re going to bake an apple pie truly from scratch, you first have to invent the universe.

Natalie Ruhl 6:17
And grandma’s recipe is is often the best.

Charlotte Ward 6:20
Yeah, yeah. Thank you so much. I’m gonna stop talking about apples now cuz I think we’ve run out of steam on the apple analogy.

Natalie Ruhl 6:27
Yeah I think we have!

Charlotte Ward 6:29
Thank you so much. That’s it for today. Go to customersupportleaders.com/42 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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