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I Am L3Harris - John Willingham

Corporate Headquarters
Nov 19, 2021 | 3 MINUTE Read
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I Am L3Harris

L3Harris is committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and respect. Hear about our employees’ experiences directly from team members around the world in our “I Am L3Harris” series.

I started out my career at L3Harris working in the shipping department. My mother, who worked as an executive assistant at legacy Harris for 35 years, had told me great things about working here. I spent the first 15 years of my career working in various materials, manufacturing and operations positions. Then, I hit a wall.

I enjoyed the job I was doing but wanted something more. At that time, there was only so much I could achieve personally and financially, so I started to re-think my line of work.

I occasionally searched job postings in hopes of a “dream job" falling in my lap, but soon realized I wasn't putting in enough effort. At this point, it was not the company keeping me back – it was me.

I decided to try something new. It was time to reinvent myself.

I took a huge personal risk and applied for a position with the Help Desk. I pushed myself to learn as much as I could about computers. I was thrilled when I received the offer for a position in the IT field but struggled when I first started. It was nerve-wracking at times. I was now answering phone calls from some of the most brilliant people in the world – engineers with doctorates were asking me for help! I went home many nights hoping I was not letting anyone down and wondering if I made the right career change. What had I done? I was so comfortable in what I was previously doing. Why was I putting myself through this?

I eventually overcame my fears by taking action. I pursued training and education to help build my confidence and skillset. I took advantage of the company's Education Assistance Program, earned my AA degree as well as other IT certifications. Because of this, I moved into management and now I'm leading a team of four. ​

This January, I celebrated 38 years at L3Harris. I've learned so much since taking the leap and moving into the IT field and feel I have been given so many opportunities to continue my growth and education. I have served in various roles at L3Harris, and I am finally in a position that I feel is my true calling.

The best part is the people. I work with talented, amazing folks every day. I was fortunate to have many mentors help me get to where I am today, and I have paid that forward by being a mentor to others.

My best advice to those who are early in their careers is to know that a dream job isn't going to fall into your lap. You must work hard, help others, and sometimes, step outside of your comfort zone to get it. Find something you enjoy. Set goals and develop a plan to achieve them. There is hope and opportunity for everyone at L3Harris - I'm living proof of that!

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