Kevin Busch is a Customer Success Manager at NoRedInk, an online web-based language-learning platform.
Born and raised in Maple Grove, an affluent suburb of Minneapolis, Busch credits much of his current success to the importance his family placed upon education, particularly in high school.
“I was privileged enough to have an incredible high school education,” Busch says.
“The quality of teachers and the programs that I got to be a part of while growing up were top-notch.”
It helped that Busch’s mom was a teacher in the Maple Grove public school system, which allowed her to handpick many of the teachers her son would have throughout the formative years of his education.
“I ultimately had an idyllic childhood. I didn’t have to face a lot of adversity,” Busch explains.
After graduating from high school in 2008, Busch left the comforts of his hometown and enrolled at the University of Missouri, where he had been accepted into the school’s esteemed journalism program.
“Going to Mizzou was definitely an eye-opening experience,” Busch admits, citing the fact that the Tigers’ student population was much less homogenous than what he had been accustomed to back home in the Twin Cities.
“I met lots of different people, and not everyone had a second home or a cabin. Some people that I went to school with grew up on government assistance.”
Due to the rigorous college prep work he undertook in high school, Busch says that his four years in Columbia were relatively easy, but a number of his peers didn’t have the same experience.
“I remember sitting in a statistics class and having a kid ask me what the mode and the mean were,” Busch recalls, “and it was like dude, this is stuff that we learned in second grade.”
Toward the end of his stint in The Show-Me State, Busch appeared to be on the verge of leveraging his educational prowess into gainful employment within the journalism industry, but as he creeped closer to graduation, the post-college opportunities that he was anticipating proved to be less bountiful than he would have otherwise hoped.
Despite possessing a 4.0 GPA at one the most revered journalism programs in the country, Busch was hampered by the ever-changing journalism landscape that the United States was experiencing in the early 2010s.
“At that point, I figured that there might not be a future for me in journalism. I was very frustrated and so I began looking for alternative career paths,” Busch says.
That’s when he found Teach for America, a nonprofit that according to their website is working “toward the day when every child will receive an excellent and equitable education.”
Right away, Teach for America sent Busch to Chicago to work with disadvantaged students on The Windy City’s notoriously underfunded and underdeveloped South Side.
He says that being thrust into such a position was extremely grueling, but that the experience also helped pave the way for the rest of his career, a journey that later took him to California, Massachusetts, and Texas, which in turn gave him a nationwide perspective on education that few can relate to.
Since leaving behind the allure of a journalism career, Busch has embarked on a career path that he never previously envisioned, yet the route he took is one that gives him more purpose, and a clearer idea of how he can positively impact society.
Today, Busch is living in Dallas, Texas, happily married and a father to a young boy who gives him an unprecedented amount of joy.
He is still passionate about education, but post-COVID Busch again decided to bet on himself, forgoing being a teacher and instead transitioning into a continually growing industry where companies are looking to streamline technology into education.
For Busch, he is now the Customer Success Manager at the aforementioned NoRedInk, a position that took a significant amount of time to secure.
“It was a lot of applications and a lot of rejections, but now I’m part of a new company [NoRedInk],” Busch says.
“It’s really cool being here, but also challenging.”
Busch then goes on to explain that the goal of NoRedInk is to help students become better writers, and his role within the company is to ensure that clients are enjoying and effectively implementing NoRedInk’s products into classrooms.
Part of the reason why Busch was attracted to NoRedInk is because he understands how important reading and writing are to achieving success, and if his past experiences taught him anything, it’s that many students are not particularly fond of reading books or learning how to write with clarity and intent.
“A lot of kids hate reading and writing, and that sucks because they will need to do those things, no matter what they do in any part of their lives,” Busch mentions.
“And it is a damning thing for an individual to say that they don’t like to read or write. If they truly feel that way, then they likely had a negative experience that turned them away.”
By having schools use NoRedInk’s technology, the long-term objective is to get students accustomed to having positive experiences with reading and writing.
As for Busch personally, he is grateful to have found another job sector that caters to his strengths, and while he would encourage many upcoming college graduates to deviate from a potential career path if the fit isn’t there, he is also quick to mention that doing so will inherently present its own set of problems.
“Any career pivot is really difficult, and there is no skirting around that fact,” Busch says, which is why he recommends seeking third-party consultation when it comes to making that switch.
“What was so helpful in my career transition was linking up with a career center.”
For context, there are some career centers who charge exorbitant hourly rates to incoming clients, but Busch says there are other companies in the marketplace who for as little as $200 will help their clients prepare for the arduous road of finding stable and gainful employment.
Ultimately, whether or not prospective job seekers elect to enlist the help of a career center, they will still have to exercise patience.
Busch adds that individuals will also have to make sure they have a good support system around them to endure the inevitable challenges that await, but most importantly, any breakthrough will likely be a result of one taking action and accountability for the outcome of their job search.
“It’s not easy because the market for quality jobs is so competitive, but if you really want to make a change happen, you will.” QS
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