"My mind was buzzing when Ross was talking to me about the compensation package and start dates. Was I crazy to leave the comfort of my 8-4 job, a 10 minute commute from my house, while responsible for two pre-schoolers with my husband deployed? Probably. I didn’t have to leave the Navy, but I knew it was the right decision. I didn’t know how I was going to make a London-based job work with the kids and a husband deployed, but I decided that practical issues weren’t going to hold me back. The childcare dilemma certainly kept me awake at night.”

When asked about her first week, called Associate Experience Week at Amazon, Gemma remembers that it went past in a blur. “I spent the week in a Fulfillment Centre working with the associates and doing what they do; helping with the picking, packing and stowing. I really enjoyed it and it was invaluable training. I was with a great team of new employees and we were all enthusiastic and motivated.”

Gemma then spent her Operations Leadership Overview week in Barcelona. “This overview provides a wider look at the company and operations and I experienced my first taste of what the company was all about,” she explains.

After on-boarding, her work as a Military Recruiter began in earnest, “The speed at which the company operates is incredible. There are no marathon meetings. Instead, we have efficient calls where information is discussed and decisions are made swiftly. The tempo is fast and I have to admit that, although there was always work to do when I was at sea or deployed, this is a different type of busy. I have embraced it and hopefully I am keeping up!”

When asked about her key learnings, her answer is immediate, “There has been so much to learn. All of the recruitment processes and systems of course, but more important than that has been identifying the key people I need to work and resource with – forming relationships with other industry recruiters, working with them to fill gaps, establishing myself within the wider business community and working with all the different hiring managers. I guess I really have two customers: one is the business, who want to hire excellent military candidates; the other is the candidates themselves. I want all candidates to have a good experience in the recruitment process whether ultimately successful, or not. Of course there are some things I could have done better and there is definitely a lot I still don’t know. I am lucky to have a supportive team who have guided me through this career change.”

When asked to give advice for future Amazonians, Gemma thinks people should always keep themselves open to different opportunities. “I never considered becoming a recruiter, but I am glad I took the plunge. Keep an open mind, you never know what opportunity you might stumble across! My second piece of advice is to think long term. Think about where you want to be in 3, 5 or 10 years and what job is going to help get you there.”

To continue learning the business, Gemma is going to spend time this summer at fulfillment centres, sortation centres and delivery stations. She wants to know more about the roles that she’s recruiting for. “I want to really understand operations, so that I can provide more insight into the Area Manager role or the Operations Manager role as well as the support functions. I am excited to participate in a night shift and see what that is all about.” Gemma is also going to run recurring Military recruiting events as well as CV and Interview workshops after the summer. Stay tuned!

To conclude, she adds, “I love my new job, love my electric desk and love the view from my office. I feel very lucky to have landed where I have and my concerns about resettling while my husband was deployed were misplaced. I am very proud to be a part of an organisation that makes people’s lives just a little bit easier, and I am thrilled to be part of a team that hires the future talent of Operations.”