A Tale of Two Careers: Switching from POPS to Marketing

Transitioning from POPS to a marketing role requires the ability to adapt and grow in an ever-changing start-up environment. In this blog, you can find out how Romina did it!

Remember that childhood anxiety about "What will you be when you grow up?" I had little worries about it and had a quick answer for my parents from when I was eight. I would be a lawyer, mostly out of spite.

Fast forward to college, my love for languages led me to study English (safe bet, I guessed) and Swedish (perfect for IKEA trips). It felt safe, but not exactly fulfilling. After doing some teaching and translation gigs, I found they were not something I wanted to do until retirement do us part.

Digging deeper, I realized three things I craved: communication, technology, and working with great people. So it was time to employ my math skills: Communication + technology + good people = an IT company's HR department.



And into the forest, I go.

After some exploration, learning, and interviewing, Determ (ex Mediatoolkit) welcomed me as a People Operations Intern. I dove headfirst into recruitment and employer branding, and onboarding and employee engagement joined my list of responsibilities a year later. I became a Determ cheerleader with surveys for pompoms.

To say that working at Determ was enjoyable would be an understatement, so it took me a sweet minute to start questioning those (very mediocre) math skills I employed to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I loved the human side of HR, and I loved IT. But I wanted some way to connect to a wider audience than our amazing (but admittedly not enormous) team of 50ish employees. Could there be more to the equation?

Fortune favors the bold.

The idea of changing careers, even within the same company, even when you’re a junior and the stakes are objectively not that high, can be daunting. Luckily, I was part of a culture that celebrates horizontal career growth like it’s going out of style. But I still had to be sure that I wanted something else, and what that “something else” was called. If it had anything to do with communication, the least I could do was be eloquent.

My trusty English degree, despite its initial questionable reasoning, became a strong foundation. But I had to level up. Free online courses (HubSpot Academy, anyone?) and content-izing People Ops (think spicing up job ads and crafting a sleep-resistant employee handbook) became my weapons of choice. Shoutout to my former mentor who saw this content thing coming from day one (sorry for the long denial phase!).

Witnessing colleagues at Determ and Bornfight successfully navigate similar transitions, with full company support, gave me the courage for an honest conversation with my manager. Performance reviews were coming up — perfect timing for naming my "something else." No math this time. Just some taxonomy.

Order: IT.

Family: Marketing.

Genus: Content.


Romina has shown that transitioning from POPS to a marketing role requires the ability to adapt and grow in an ever-changing start-up environment. Check out other skills that will help you thrive in our Start-up Survival Guide.

Fear is the mind-killer.

Once I opened up about my career aspirations, my manager squashed my self-doubt. He asked about my goals and offered a one-month marketing project with Elevien to test things out. After a successful collaboration, both Elevien and I were on board to turn a project into something more full-time.

This whole transitioning period was marked by two big fears.

Number one: Determ people thinking I was switching careers because I hated working with them. My manager and mentor helped cast this one away, mostly by taking the time to convince me that I was overthinking and that nobody **in their right mind would think that. And if someone did, we would blame it on the surveys.

Number two: Starting from scratch. While words of encouragement helped, conquering this one was on me. The coveted ‘leap of faith’ worked quite well here, and came with a nice surprise: I had more than scratch to work with!

The constant collaboration with all kinds of roles equipped me to tailor my writing to any audience. My interview skills came in handy when talking to users (and sniffing out new content topics.) And knowing how to give and receive feedback is always valuable.

Change is good. It keeps you young.

Three months into my marketing adventure, I can say exploring careers within Determ and Bornfight was absolutely worth it. I'm using my old skills in new ways, acquiring new ones (not all marketing-related!), and having fun doing it. You might even see another career-switch blog from me in a few months (just kidding... maybe).

But seriously, if you're considering a career change, do your research! Talk to people in your desired field, get a realistic picture of the role and how your skills can contribute. And if it turns out this new path isn't the perfect fit? Explore more! There's no legal limit on career detours (trust me, I spent the better part of my teenage years talking about that law degree).


And lastly, if you want the freedom to explore career options in an open and supportive place, Bornfight and Determ might be the companies for you. You might not find your "perfect" career path, but you will get heaps of creative freedom and growth in all kinds of directions.