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In the Spotlight: Career Independence
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Marilou Alejo, University Recruiter for Workday,

Offers Her Thoughts on the Topic of Career Independence


MPACE: What does the term career independence mean to you?  


Marilou: I feel the term “career independence” channels the entrepreneurial spirit.  This may mean that you manage your own business, but it can also mean that you are able to manage your time at work the way that fits you best.  Career independence allows you to integrate your personal life with your work life.  Whether this means being able to have a flexible schedule, or to introduce your colleagues to something you are passionate about outside of the office-- the ability to assert this independence is important.


MPACE: How do you think new college graduates can build and sustain career independence?  


Marilou: If a new college graduate chooses the path of working for an employer, I think it’s necessary for them to find an employer that supports career independence.  This will be apparent in its culture: whether they utilize technology to work remotely, if flexible work hours are acceptable, how well managers appreciate employees’ personal passions etc.  


MPACE: How does Workday foster career independence?  


Marilou: As a cloud and mobile-first company, Workday advocates the use of technology to be able to work in remote locations.  We use Slack, email and other platforms to help us stay in touch wherever we may be.  We also support the passions of our employees through our Giving & Doing organization, various affinity groups, and hobby or sports clubs.  These initiatives allow employees to feel better connected to their interests during and after work hours.  


MPACE: How can someone sustain an entrepreneurial spirit while working for an organization?


Marilou: The key to sustaining an entrepreneurial spirit is to take advantage of opportunities for work-life integration.  I would stay away from the 9 to 5 grind and really think about what makes you happy.  Then I would try to blend that into your work day.


MPACE: Should we all embrace the concept of career independence? Why?  


Marilou: It is important to feel supported in your career whether you are working for yourself or an employer.  You should never have to feel like you are “sacrificing” work or your personal life to do the other.  You will be happier and more motivated if you have the freedom to be flexible throughout your day.  


MPACE: How do you sustain your own sense of career independence?


Marilou: 1) I chose a career and a place of work that allows me to practice career independence.  Prior to being a university recruiter, I had a passion for career coaching and professional development.  I frequently volunteered my time to help students as they navigated their careers.  Becoming a university recruiter was second nature to me and allows me to pursue this passion during my office hours.  2) Workday allows me a flexible work schedule so I don’t feel pressured to be in the office at a set time and duration even when personal things may come up during the day.  3) My manager does a great job of showing she cares about me by asking about non-work related events or interests.  This simple acknowledgment is a great way to show she cares and makes me feel less anxious about ever having to choose between work and my personal life.  4) Workday allows dogs at the office, so it’s nice not to have to worry about leaving my dog at home or rushing home to take care of her. 



Marilou Alejo is a Professional Star Catcher (a.k.a. University Recruiter) for Workday.  She has recruited both technical and non-technical talent and managed relationships with a variety of schools mainly on the West Coast. She has interests in talent branding, career coaching, and overall employee engagement.  She graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in Hospitality Management (which is probably why she focuses so heavily on candidate and customer experience!)


This Spotlight article was compiled by Kate Day of the MPACE Communications Committee. Kate is a Talent Development Program Manager for Generation Workday at Workday.  

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