Early Career, Mentoring, Personal, Professional

Determination & Inspiration

Yesterday in class we were told a story of a girl who wanted a job so badly. A job that didn’t exist. A job that she wasn’t going to find on the internet or achieve by sitting on her ass and wishing. So, she took initiative. She took risks. She went where few would go. In the end? She achieved her goal of landing a position.

I’m always inspired by stories of people who go the extra step. It’s the one question I always ask those I mentor – Are you willing to go that extra step to achieve your dream? What can you do to achieve your goal?

So many people wonder how I’ve achieved some of the positions I’ve held in my life. How I’ve “tripped and fell” into some of the coolest jobs and organizations to work for. When I get talking about it, of course, the first thing to come out of my mouth is “I’ve been fortunate” or “I’ve been lucky.”  Then I got thinking about it – I worked my ass off to achieve a lot of those jobs.

I worked my ass off to achieve a lot of those jobs.

And my career building experience didn’t start when I was out of school; it started right alongside my education. I worked retail, I volunteered for clubs, I reached out to people who I hoped could mentor me, and I built my resume one step at a time. I saw the building blocks for success and I was determined to try my hardest. Then, when an opportunity arose?  I had great experience to draw from, and combined that by taking some chances and risking a bit to learn something new.

How did I do it? Well, let me share a few of my stories here (in no particular order) and see what you think:

Cool Job 1: Radio

Ask my old boss, I stalked the crap out of him. Not in a creepy “I’m going to get arrested” sort of way, but I made it my mission to be at community events. It started out as a coincidence; we kept running into each other everywhere. Then it became a hilarious game and we got to know each other, until one day I was offered the opportunity to apply for their promotions position. I learned a ton in this job having zero experience in radio.

Cool Job 2: Hockey

To be honest, I did trip and fall into this job a wee bit. I had been volunteering for years (quasi against my will, quasi because I did get paid a small honorarium) to sell 50/50 tickets at Belleville Bulls games. Step one: I wanted to sing an anthem and it took me YEARS to achieve this, and then I did. Step two: I wanted to be that fan in the stand gal (it looked like SO much fun). So, one year, I saw an opportunity. I knew I could do it and do it well, so I told the business director to give me a shot, which he did. Step three: When I went in for my fan in the stands interview, there happened to be a job opening at the organization. At the time, I was well connected in the community and it was a great fit.

I wanted to sing an anthem and it took me YEARS to achieve this…

Cool Job 3: PR Agency

This one trips people up all the time as getting into agencies is HARD. You’d be appalled at how many times people think I’m just going to open that door FOR them. No dice, work for it. It’s not an easy task and I’m sure everyone tells their story a bit differently. For me, I took advantage of the student CPRS membership. I hit the highway and went to a roundtable discussion about different industries. Of course, before I attended, I had researched everyone in attendance and found there was one person I wanted to meet. While I wasn’t in her session, I sought her out on break, introduced myself and exchanged information. A week later, I toured their agency. At the time I was purely curious, but hours later I found myself with a job offer.

Cool Job 4: My Current Home at Queen’s

Persistence. Persistence. Persistence. I cannot tell you how many friends I have that are applying to jobs at Queen’s on a regular basis. It’s a great place to work and was ranked best employer by Forbes for a reason, but getting in isn’t always easy. I returned once for an internship, again for a contract, and now I’m back again. Finally, the time was right. Even as I was working in several different positions, my heart was with Queen’s University. I wanted to return so badly. When I look through my email history just now, it says I have applied 22 times, and that’s just my current email address. Do you want something? Try and try again. Maybe the time isn’t right, maybe you aren’t right for that job, but if you want something bad enough you won’t give up.

And you know what else can happen when you’re trying so hard for something you want SO badly? Something completely opposite can pop up and off you go on a different mission. I’m always inspired by the stories of “I was doing this, and then completely switched to that.” I’m also inspired by the people who wanted something so badly that they never gave up. People are inspiring if you take the time to listen. Everyone has a story. Hopefully a couple of these little tid bits may have inspired you today, because you might just be one stepping stone away from something even greater than today. 🙂

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