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Moving from Mexico City to San Francisco with Uber

June 27, 2022 / Global

At Uber, it’s not uncommon that a Project Manager in Seattle was previously a Marketing Specialist in Amsterdam or a Customer Support Specialist in Chicago is now your HR Business Partner in San Francisco. That’s because employee mobility is so common at Uber that every year 25% of people take a new role within the company, move, explore a short-term assignment, or work on a part-time Gig. 

We believe there’s no better classroom than real-world experience. And in a classroom like Uber, where work moves at the speed of technology and the only constant is change, the lesson plan (as you might expect) grows and evolves continuously. Employees are encouraged to get in the driver’s seat and choose where to focus, when to learn, and how to grow their skills.

No one knows this better than Xiomara (Xio) Esquiliano, who has shifted roles 4 times in 5 years and recently moved from Mexico City to San Francisco for a new opportunity as a Program Manager (PM)—a role she has never formally worked in before. Xio’s journey to PM started when she saw a skill she wanted to explore, raised her hand for an opportunity to learn, and found a passion that inspired her next career move.

“Growth is up to you. If you’re interested in learning something new, reach out to someone you trust that can teach you. Take on work that expands your skill set. Learn by doing. I’ve seen that most everyone at Uber is open to teaching.”

Talk to us about your career journey at Uber. 

“I’m an Associate Program Manager for Tech on the Talent Acquisition team. That means I help our Recruiters, Sourcers, and Coordinators get the tools they need to move fast and win. 

I joined Uber in Mexico City as a contractor in early 2017 scheduling interviews for Latin America and was subsequently offered a full-time position. I then transitioned to Associate Sourcer and after that to Recruiter. 

Prior to Uber, I was in the hospitality industry and when I started to work in recruitment I saw the positive impact it has on people’s lives. I enjoyed seeing how the people I was hiring grew Uber and supported our communities, so I decided I wanted to keep growing on the team. 

At the end of 2021, I moved to San Francisco for my current role, so I’ve been at Uber for ~5 years.”

At Uber, we often encourage employees to ‘get in the driver’s seat’ of their careers. What was your motivation behind looking to change your role and look for other internal roles in the first place? 

“Since I joined, I’ve been curious to understand what the Recruiting Operations team was doing. A couple of years ago I also got interested in learning more about project management. I reached out to our local Project Manager to see if I could shadow and help him on a project. I wanted to see if that’s where I should take my career. He agreed and even gave PM 101 lessons to me and my peers! 

Thanks to this I met my current manager and have never been so happy or motivated, so my next move became immediately clear to me.”

What are some learnings from your journey? 

“Growth isn’t necessarily just moving up. You can transition to the same role, but with different scope. Move to another country in the same role. Or make a lateral move to a completely different role—as I did. Growth is up to you. If you’re interested in learning something new, reach out to someone you trust that can teach you. Take on work that expands your skill set. Learn by doing. I’ve seen that most everyone at Uber is open to teaching.”

What were some challenges you faced and what advice would you give to others who are thinking about changing careers too?

“The challenge for me has been not knowing how to do something because I’m a very structured, process-oriented perfectionist. I’ve had to learn that sometimes I’m going to fail and that it’s okay not to know everything. With that, I’ve always looked out for people who can guide me. 

My advice is to always do it. Everything you want is on the other side of fear. We often don’t do things because we’re afraid of what will happen, so you just have to take the risk, even if you fail.”

What advice would you give to employees who are preparing to change roles?

“It really helped to try my current role first as part of a formal Gig opportunity—a program at Uber where employees can spend 5-15% of their time working on a project outside their scope and skillset. If you have the chance to experience it, it’s going to help you decide whether that’s the career path you want to take or not.”

How did moving into a new role help you grow? 

“This role as a Tech PM has been very challenging and made me step out of my comfort zone. I’ve realized that my growth path could even be around tech system configuration, and I had no idea I was capable of that. 

On the personal side, moving into a different country has been super challenging. You’re leaving everything you knew and I’ve had to learn and adapt to a completely different culture. It has helped me be more open, independent, and extroverted. It has also pushed me to find new ways to connect with my family and friends in Mexico while building new connections here.”

How do you think your network has helped you grow throughout this career journey?

“A lot! I wouldn’t be where I am today without everyone who has helped me grow. My recruiter colleagues because they were always open to teaching me how to become a recruiter. My managers in Mexico because every time I asked for more, they trusted and guided me. My project management mentor who trusted me to lead my first project. My current manager, who receives a minimum of 10 pings per day from me. And my new stakeholders, who are patient with me and help me understand this new area.”

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