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“Find your purpose, pursue it relentlessly … be persistent, and win.”
These are the words from Angela Bassett at the BET’s Black Girls Rock program that I kept replaying as I navigated through my professional career. When you are a young woman with big dreams, trying to find your place in the world and hoping to be given a chance, you don’t really think about how exhausting it is. It takes so much mental strength to endure dozens of rejections and still continue to pick yourself back up again. After graduating during a pandemic and not being able to find a job, I felt like a total failure. It was hard finding it within myself to keep moving forward, but if you’re anything like me, letting go of your goals is even harder.
All You Really Need Is One Yes
Throughout this journey, I learned that at first, it’s not about finding the job of your dreams, it’s about making sure you allow yourself the opportunity to get there. If something is really meant for you, it will be yours. I learned this the hard way by closing doors on myself because I was waiting for something better, bigger, or more money. If a company is willing to see value in you and truly believe in what you bring to the table, that offer can open so many doors that you wouldn’t even expect, and maybe you’ll find new passions along the way. In the beginning, especially as a recent graduate, take your first offer and craft your skill set. Make the most out of your new experience because you truly never know what will come out of it.
After graduating from my masters program in the middle of the pandemic, I received an offer to work as an intern at a television show. I was really excited because my dream is to work on a television set, but I can’t deny that I was hesitant. I thought to myself, “Did I really get my master’s degree just to be an intern again?” All of my graduate school friends were receiving major job offers at Fortune 500 companies and being offered amazing salaries. But when I kept hearing Angela say “find your purpose,” I knew I would regret not experiencing this new chapter.
After eight months as an intern, I was able to work with some of the best journalists in the country, interview authors, produce my own segments, work on a live television set, and make amazing connections. I took a risk of moving to a new city by myself, not making a lot of money, and just hoping for the best. Now, nearly a year later, I have been promoted to a senior role within the same company, and I can say it was the best career decision I’ve made.
Kindness Goes a Long Way
Whether you’re a volunteer or an intern and are just starting out at the bottom, what I learned is that someone is always watching. When you are pushing yourself and working harder and smarter than the rest, someone is taking note of that and will recommend you to something greater. When you are just starting out, remember to make the best of any given task, even if it’s making coffee. Throughout your journey, be vocal about what your goals are, because people are actually willing to help you get there. Through it all, always remain true to who you are and stay honest with yourself. Don’t put yourself in situations that you know are not right for you. Through it all, be kind. In a tough and competitive world, many people lose their kindness and it can be rough. Always stay kind, approachable, and willing to help others.
And lastly, trust your own process. It’s hard not to compare yourself to people around you, but everyone’s journey is different. Stay in your own lane, trust yourself, and you’ll see just how far you can go.