25 Year Reflections: Tanner Hayes’ Story

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As we celebrate 25 years of building community, we asked our team to reflect on their own growth from 1999 to today. Resource Manager Tanner Hayes was fresh out of high school and dreamed of a career in molecular biology. How did he find himself at Bridgepoint 25 years later? Read the full interview below to get an inside look at Tanner’s story.

Reflect on where you were 25 years ago and what your aspirations were for your career. What would you tell that person now? I was planning the upcoming 4+ years after graduating high school. I was eager to pursue a career in molecular biology. I would encourage the younger me — with a head full of hair — to figure out that being stuck in a lab 10 hours a day only fulfilled my intellectual curiosity and left me wondering about the “outside world.”

How does your career progression align or differentiate from your expectations 25 years ago? I truly didn’t know where I would be. I don’t know that I would be surprised to learn that consulting was in my future, but I might be surprised that I stayed in one place for a good amount of time (and still going). I always did well in science, so I might be surprised I didn’t bounce around from one discipline to another.

What was your biggest work tech headache 25 years ago? Since I was only 17, having a running and dependable vehicle was probably it.

What was your dream office perk in 1999? The excitement of a real paycheck was all the excitement I needed.

Did your job require more formal attire in 1999? Any memorable or outrageous outfits you sported? No suite for young Tanner! I was transitioning from wearing a Champs Sports uniform to jeans and a polo in a lab.

How did you collaborate with colleagues? Do you think video conferencing would have made a difference? Depending on the month, I collaborated with classmates or people working in the same location. I don’t think video conferencing would have offered many benefits for us.

Did you have a favorite office prankster? It was probably me, sadly. I used to work with someone who was a bit of a germaphobe. He would put his name on pens and attach them to his desk and politely ask folks not to use them when they came to talk to him. I would purposely get to talking and using my hands, and then to illustrate my point, I would pick up a pen to do some math or something. Watching him squirm and grimace made for good times.

What was your biggest work disaster? While running a cloning batch for a large government client, I accidentally cross-contaminated samples. The lesson I learned, kids—haste makes waste. This one was not funny, but I did learn from it.

Looking back, what surprises you most about how work has changed from 1999 to 2024? I don’t know that the 17 year old Tanner had any idea that the internet would change absolutely everything. I suspect I understood that, but I don’t know if I spent any time thinking about it.