Our “DocuSign UP Career” blog series places the spotlight on employees who tell us about their first job (how they landed it, why they chose it) and key moments in their career that lead to greater learning or career momentum. At DocuSign, we believe in the next generation of leaders and want to help them get on the right career trajectory. That’s why we started DocuSign UP (University Program). This week we sat down with Pascal in General Management and Business Development based in Paris to learn more about his career.
What do you do at DocuSign?
I’m the VP of EMEA and the general manager of DocuSign France.
What was your first job after school?
I worked as an electronic engineer for Thales, a large industrial company. There I designed communications solutions for buses and large cities and developed a communication system that reduced waiting time for people at bus stops.
Why did you choose that job?
I wanted to work in a large industry and work on solutions to make people’s lives better.
Is it related to what you do today? And what did you learn from it?
It was a rather technical job, and I’m no longer in a technical function. But it was still about delivering a product that satisfies customers. In this sense, I’m still doing the same job. I’m selling solutions that will satisfy customers or partners.
Tell us about a pivotal moment in your career that helped propel you to another level.
It’s the moment I realized that, in my technical role, I missed meeting with people outside of the company. I wanted to interact with customers. So, I decided to go to Insead Business School, the most reputable business school in France. That’s the moment I switched from an engineering career to a commercial sales career.
Did you have important mentors in your life who helped you?
I had two mentors. One was my boss at the company I went to after Thales. I was young and sometimes customers considered me too young to be the guy to talk to. My mentor coached me how to interact with confidence and authority so the customers trusted me. My second mentor was not a boss. At the time, I was traveling a lot and meeting with partners. I became friends with one of these partners and he helped me realize that I was ready to manage people and that I wanted to manage people.
How would you describe your career and the choices you’ve made?
My career has always been a path that I’ve planned. I’ve always decided when to leave a company and when to join another one, and it was always to get more responsibility and expand my skills. I went where I could learn something new. I’ve never done the same job twice.
Have you faced any setbacks in your career?
Of course, and when you fail or don’t succeed in the way you’ve chosen, it’s an even better lesson. When you succeed, you don’t ask questions. You think you were right, though you may have been close to a big risk without knowing it. When you fail, you don’t have any choice but to understand why. In this sense, it’s more instructive.
Everyone has different strengths and limitations. At what point did you realize what you were very good at and what you should be delegating.
Yes, this is one of the most important points. It’s about knowing yourself. And when you know exactly what you’re less good at or what you don’t like to do, it’s important to delegate that because you won’t do it well. That’s one of the things I did well in my career because I know what I’m good at. Management is one of those things, helping people in their own tasks, coaching them, helping them to solve problems by themselves.
What advice would you give a college junior or senior breaking into the job market?
First, make sure to do something you love. That doesn’t mean there aren’t constraints in the job but try to identify what you love to do. Focus on the company’s core mission; and, if it’s what you want to do, make the job work for you. Second, from time to time take a moment away from the job to think about your career from an external view. Make an effort to see yourself as another person. It’s even more important now because we’re working almost all the time – from home, on the train, at the office, anywhere. We have less time to think because we’re moving fast and delivering fast. If we make an effort to listen to ourselves, we’ll know what we want to do. And if we don’t take that time to disconnect, we may forget what we love doing. So first, it’s about understanding what we do and trying to do it better, and second, understanding what that is and getting energy from that.
Any specific tips on how find a job or organize a job search?
Try to associate yourself with people in the place where you want to work. Find someone you know. Use your network. Make an effort to learn and research the company and the role. Do a deep dive before having the first meeting so you understand the company. It’s very frustrating for a recruiter when the candidate knows nothing about the company they want to join.
If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?
I’m at the point in my career where I’ll think about the next stage in the next five years: retirement. I’ll still be an entrepreneur but for a charity or to help other people.
Think DocuSign might be a fit for you? Check out our job openings: Careers@DocuSign