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Secret Life of Medallians: Skydiving into a New Job


If all of your co-workers jumped out of a plane, would you do it too?

I’m not talking about a new step in Medallia’s interview process. Rather, it’s a question eight Medallians recently answered with an emphatic “yes” by embarking together on a skydiving excursion.

Some in the group had been eager to skydive for some time. But for many, the trip was more than just a chance to thumb their noses at gravity. The majority had just finished a week of team-building, goal-setting, and self-discovery exercises in Medallia’s onboarding program, and saw skydiving as an opportunity to accomplish something daunting with their new colleagues’ support.

“In onboarding, we do activities together where we face our fears, and some of us had a fear of heights,” said Sam, a member of Medallia’s sales team. “So we decided to go on this trip together.”

Lauren, a member of the recruiting team, felt the same way.

“When you’re starting a new job and you’re moving to a new city, it’s nice to feel a certain kinship with your onboarding group, and feel comfortable doing these type of things with them,” she said. “Especially when it comes to jumping out of a perfectly good plane.”

Impressively, moods were largely relaxed when the Medallians arrived at the skydiving facility in Byron, California. And despite some ribbing from their instructors — mostly in the form of jokes about the reliability of their harnesses — the group also stayed relatively calm during their pre-jump lessons. But that changed when they boarded their planes.

“I was very calm and tranquil, until we got about halfway up,” Ilia, another sales team member, said. “Then the reality of jumping out of a plane settled in.”

“For me, the main thought was — ‘Holy s***, that’s high,” Cody, another recruiter, said. “That, and ‘I’m ready to do a flip out of the plane.’”

“I was freaking out on the ground,” said marketing analyst Weisi. “Then I was in the plane, and they said, ‘Weisi is jumping out first,’ and I couldn’t even move.”

But did she enjoy it in the end?

“Yeah,” she said. “There wasn’t a drop or anything. I just thought “Oh, I’m floating.” And at the end, when I landed, I was screaming, ‘Oh my god, that was so fun!’ The people all the way in the warehouse said, ‘We could tell you enjoyed it.’”

“Weisi was totally nervous the whole time leading up to it,” Lauren said. “But something switched in her. She landed, and walked towards us, and I could see her smile emanating across the entire field. You could sense everything was relaxed with her. And that put me at ease.”

Skydiving body photo

This trip has inspired subsequent aerial adventures for Medallians. The inside sales team recently made its own skydiving excursion for a team-building activity, and several of the original group plan to become certified to dive on their own. Even some of the initially skeptical participants said they’d be willing to go again eventually.

So rather than just asking about skydiving, perhaps the really important questions for these Medallians were: if you were going to do something that scared you, are your co-workers the people you’d want there with you? And if so, would they support you?

Once again, the answer to both was, “Yes.”

Until next time,

Sammie D. Kaleland