Pointed Advice from an Unexpected Source

One of the really fun things about getting to write for the newspaper is always having an excuse to attend meetings, seminars, and events about good things happening in the community. Often they’re things I genuinely enjoy, and the fact that I can report on them makes the experience that much more amazing for me.

I’ve spent some time out at our UC campus (University of California, for those of you not in the sunshine state), hearing about what’s going on for the students there. Last week I attended an awards ceremony where students publicly thanked our state’s largest utility company for the support that the company has given the university.

Sitting in a classroom surrounded by college seniors, I felt a little jealous. These students don’t know what happens after graduation. They don’t know how hard it is to find fulfilling work. They’ve heard stories and read statistics, but they haven’t lived that reality.

Reality for me and many others means months of unemployment and underemployment, trying to figure out the whole “real world” experience. It means dealing with bills and increasing personal responsibility without anyone telling you what you need to do in order to be successful.

Now, before you think that I’m glorifying college days — cramming for final exams, trying to read everything on a syllabus, and living with random roommates — I want you to know I’m not. I know there are struggles in college and that the challenges facing students are as challenging to them where they’re at as my search for employment is now. I just…wish for the days back when I naively believed that I would finish college and have multiple job offers waiting. Hah. Nearly three years later,  I cannot help but mock myself for thinking that.

Anyway, all of that to say, I was blown away at this awards ceremony. A VP and the company president each offered their thanks and advice to the seniors. They talked about how much the university means to the community and how proud they are of the work that is happening there. Then one of them said one of the most convicting things I’ve heard in a long time. He was talking to the students, but I heard his message as if he said it just for me.

The job you want is the job that scares you. If you don’t think that you can figure it out, take it. You are a lot smarter than you probably give yourself credit for. By challenging yourself, you will become that much better”

Woah there. That’s a totally different way of looking at things. I’ve just been trying to find whatever I can piece together. But now, I’m waiting to hear back from the kind of job that scares me, the one where if they offer it to me, I’ll feel like it was meant for someone else. The kind that comes with professional responsibilities and travel and requires me to speak up at meetings with important people.

It’s a place where I’d be challenged, and where I can make use of my strengths. I want an offer for this position more than I’ve wanted anything in a while. It’s a good place to be, but again, scary.

I’m ready to be better and accept the challenge. My college days are behind me and it’s time for me to gain more responsibility. Step up, take risks, and sit in meetings with people who know their own importance. It might be a doozy of a ride, but you know me –I’m always up for an adventure.