There are moments in life when a person finds themselves exactly where they’re meant to be. Sometimes, the path is clear, but more often than not, it resembles a maze. 

After a series of false starts, backtracks and recalibrations, one finally reaches the center. While the path to this point was uncertain and convoluted, the journey shows how each dead end eventually led them to where they strived to be. 

Reaching this point was not a matter of destiny but the consequence of determination, ambition and resilience. 

When Nicholas Taft reflects on how he eventually found his place at PrizePicks, he likens his journey to Dev Patel’s character in Slumdog Millionaire

“In the film, the events in Jamal’s entire life end up being the answers to the questions he’s asked when playing Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and ultimately, he wins the game at the end,” said Taft.

For Taft, who now works as a member support team lead at the daily fantasy sports — or DFS — company, customer service roles in the retail, warehouse and restaurant industries weren’t the correct answer. 

Still, these cumulative experiences led him to the ultimate win: a fresh career start and a promising future at PrizePicks. 

Taft’s professional life is poised for growth, and he shared insights into his journey and how PrizePicks champions team members to advance their careers and pursue ambitions.

 

Give us a snapshot of your career so far. What has been your path to this point?

I started working in customer service at a local movie theater when I was still in high school in the work release program. At the time, I was in that program so I could go home early like any other high schooler would want to do. Still, since then, I’ve had lots of retail, warehouse and restaurant experience. For the longest time, I had my heart set on being a professional musician, and these types of careers would allow me to take time off for weeks at a time to play shows out of state. 

I think all of those previous positions I held, along with my passions for sports, writing and playing DFS, including playing on PrizePicks, have helped me sharpen my skills and laid the groundwork to help me get to where I am today.

 

“I think all of those previous positions I held, along with my passions for sports, writing and playing DFS, have helped me sharpen my skills and laid the groundwork to get to where I am today.”

 

How does working for PrizePicks help you make progress toward your career goals?

Since I was hired at PrizePicks, my entire life has changed. That statement is not an exaggeration or hyperbole. My entire career, I was looking for stability and a place to really “make my home,” so to speak. The restaurant life led me down some less-than-ideal paths, like some of the vices that come along with being in that industry. My ultimate goal was to get out of that field and find something that I could make a career in. 

PrizePicks has given me that tenfold. What makes PrizePicks a unique place to work from a professional development perspective?

PrizePicks is one of the most unique places I’ve ever worked. Our culture is unmatched. Every single person we have at this company is bright, driven and ambitious. It’s refreshing to have everyone at the company working for the same goal — to be the most beloved fan engagement DFS platform on the planet. 

 

How have you grown professionally at PrizePicks? 

Our member support position is entirely chat-based, so the skills I gained during my customer service roles collided with the experience I acquired while writing for a local music website. The result is offering detailed, thoughtful responses to any inquiries they have and asking open-ended questions to make the member’s experience a positive one. I worked hard when I first got here and was able to advance within the company after six months. That proves that hard work, persistence and perfecting your craft pays off at this company. 

 

What professional development tools and resources have you utilized? 

I picked up a strong work ethic and the ability to multitask, deal with pressure, ask exploratory questions, quickly adapt to change and execute confidently from my previous positions. I brought those skills into my current role at PrizePicks, and I think that’s helped me with any hurdles I’ve encountered. 

Additionally, I’ve gained the ability to recognize a member who should be sent responsible gaming warnings based on their chat responses and used my past experiences as a member support rep in our department to troubleshoot problems and find a solution. 

 

How are managers involved in the career development of direct reports?

My managers have greatly influenced my growth within the company. They have given me nothing but support, new opportunities within the department and the tools to succeed along the way. I go into our Atlanta office two times a week to collaborate with our team in person, and I think that’s done wonders for my development and our entire department’s development. One of our core values here at PrizePicks is to over-communicate.

 

How has joining the company impacted your professional and personal journey?

Since joining the team, I’ve made friends I will keep in contact with for the rest of my life. I love interacting with our entire company in our work communications hub and try to be active in as many channels as possible. Beyond that, working here has allowed me to get away from being behind a bar every night and allowed me to center myself and focus on my new career. 

 

“Working here has allowed me to get away from being behind a bar every night and allowed me to center myself and focus on my new career.”

 

I have a strong support system outside of work between my family, friends and wife, and having another strong support system at work is also a huge boost for me. I know I can send a DM to anyone I work with, and they would gladly offer me advice on handling any situation. I also lead “Taft Talks” in one of our work channels when we’ve had a frustrating day and need some motivation to keep going, and being asked to give one means the world to me. My team knows I would run into a fire for them, and I know they would do the same for me.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share about this topic?

I bet on myself for the first time in my life, and it paid off. To this day, if there is a PrizePicks commercial on TV, my dad will call me and tell me, and I can’t tell you how rewarding that is. If you are looking for stability, an incredible team of people, flexibility, work-life balance and opportunities to be rewarded for your hard work and advance your career path, PrizePicks is the move.

 

 

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