My First Year Working At Nlets

May 27, 2021

My First Year Working At Nlets

As my first year at Nlets draws to a close, I sit here wondering how the last twelve months have flown by so fast. It’s truly been a whirlwind - moving across the country amid a global pandemic, watching words that first sounded like gibberish slowly start to take on meaning, and learning the real-world impact of an organization that I had previously never known existed.

Like so many others in 2020, I’ve developed my relationships with coworkers primarily through a screen, and look forward to the days when small talk is a given, not something to be longed for. But when I look back on my first year at Nlets, I do so with an immense amount of gratitude. I feel lucky to have found not just such a stellar place to work, but to have landed in a place that has pushed me to grow not only as a professional employee but as an individual as well.

When I first heard about Nlets in March of 2020, it was shortly after I’d been laid off due to the coronavirus crisis. At the time, I was primarily intent on finding a steady paycheck, but was also hoping to find a job that would allow me to make an impact on the world. That’s why, when I came across the job listing for Nlets and I realized that working there would be about more than making a profit, I felt significantly more drawn to the unfamiliar organization than many of the other more corporate positions I’d applied for.

I’ll freely admit my initial interpretation of what Nlets did was entirely wrong (I thought it was the database for criminal justice information) – but what stood out to me was something that my interviewer said in the first phone call: Nlets works to save lives by getting the right information to the right place at the right time.

Those words inspired me to accept the position as a Media & Training Specialist in May of 2020.

My first days (okay, months) on the job were a massive blur of words and acronyms that I couldn’t have explained in my dizziest daydreams. Being new to Nlets AND the criminal justice industry in general meant that even the most basic explanations were sometimes lost on me. I tried to keep a running list of the words I didn’t know, but to be honest, more slipped by me than I was able to write down. Everyone kept telling me that that was normal, and that I would get it eventually – but being a harsh critic on myself, I was constantly convinced that they would one day realize that I didn’t know something I was supposed to know, and then I’d be fired.

I muddled through the first six months by attempting to take crazy amounts of notes in every meeting I attended (no, seriously, I have two full notebooks at this point) and making flashcards for any and every acronym I could track down. I kept hoping it would all just ‘click’ one day – but what actually happened was that eventually the gibberish phrases stopped being so scary, and I was able to stop freaking out enough to actually learn what they meant.

But through it all – the one thing that stood out the most was the incredible company culture. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was willing to help me with any question I had. No one ever made me feel stupid for not knowing something. On top of that, I was offered opportunities to improve my skills through enrolling in classes and attending conferences. My boss offered me tasks that she knew would challenge me, and those opportunities ultimately taught me more than I ever could have guessed. Every interaction I had with the Nlets team made me realize that they all believed in me. I felt appreciated as both an employee and a person, and I slowly stopped believing I had to be a production machine and could instead be human and continue asking questions as long as I needed.

And, of course, as all the wise Nlets employees had told me, I’ve slowly started to pick up the gist of the way most things work. I’m able to ask questions that I wouldn’t have even known how to ask just a few months ago, and even though I’m just dipping my toe into the massive amount of information about Nlets, I finally feel like my role in the organization is taking its shape.