Finding passion to build a career

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February 28, 2022

PHOTO: TRULY NOLEN

Scarlett Nolen, president of Truly Nolen, sits next to a sculpted likeness of her father at corporate headquarters in Tucson, Ariz. The artwork was unveiled in January 2019. PHOTO: TRULY NOLEN

In my experience, when it comes to keeping employees long-term, engaging your employees to build an evolving career path is key. Countless surveys have focused on this subject, all underscoring the importance of a career path to your employees. However, so many businesses struggle to successfully illuminate a career path as well as engage their partners on how to develop. A critical element lies within the people driving their own success and finding passion in what they do each day.

I began my journey on a blue carpet on my dad’s office floor when I was 6 years old. My father, Truly David Nolen, handed me a profit-and-loss statement printed on green bar paper, along with three felt tip-colored pens to note which numbers were on track and which line items needed to be further looked into. I took the pens and started circling numbers, drawing hearts and scribbling until the paper was soaked in ink. I loved pest control because I loved coloring with felt pens — I found my passion!

“Do what you love, and everything else will follow.”— Truly David Nolen

My father would share this wisdom with me, and countless others, as I navigated my career path. Truly’s advice was contrary to what society preached: work hard, become successful, and then you will be happy. In spite of society’s message, my father encouraged my siblings and me to follow our passions, whether that meant becoming an artist, a ranch hand, or an academic — just a few of the paths my siblings ended up taking.

Despite my wonderful introduction to the industry doodling in my father’s office as a child, I really was not sure what career or even industry I was meant to be in as I grew older. I worked at a racetrack selling tickets, the Jewish Community Center as director at a camp counselor, a few babysitting gigs, scooped ice cream and even practiced as a family therapist after I completed my master’s degree. At the time, none of these jobs seemed like they were an exact fit—they all felt like a job for the moment, a stagnate holding place for the time.

Despite not being an exact fit, I inadvertently learned about customer service skills, team dynamics, networking and what makes people tick. These were all fundamental skills and passions greatly suited for a career in pest control. Even without consciously noticing in real-time, my seemingly irrelevant jobs were careerpathed to come back to pest control!

I am still reviewing profit-and-loss statements — now through a slightly different lens sitting at a desk. The key takeaway is to use each chapter of your job history as you build your career, while finding your passions along the way. The job you might consider now could just be a job, or it could be a start to a great career. Simply do what you love, and the rest will follow.

Our company’s aim is to foster an environment where personal and professional development are supported. Each partner is to have a clearly outlined career path, complete with training and continuing education both in-person and online. We strive to cultivate an environment where partners have the opportunity to grow. Programs like our Truly Development Program, Manager in Training Program and Executive Continued Development partnered with Cornell University all help facilitate this growth to the individual partner, as well as to the company at a holistic level.

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About the Author

Scarlett Nolen was promoted to president of Truly Nolen of America in March 2019. Nolen has worked for the company since 2012 in multiple roles. Most recently, Nolen was the district manager for the “Growth District,” a district of new service offices throughout Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Prior to joining the company, Nolen graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor’s Degree in Experimental Psychology and Summa Cum Laude from the University of Central Florida with a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.

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