Saturday, February 20, 2010
Your Job Search: The Chance of a Lifetime
I attended a meeting earlier this week of the Curry College Public Relations Student Association, a pre-professional association for students who have an interest in public relations. The guest speaker was Steve Binder, Vice President, Publishing Director and Sales, ESPN Publishing Division, a Curry College graduate (COM '84 cum laude).
Steve spent the bulk of the afternoon with us, talking with a Sales & Marketing class and then, in the evening, talking to an audience of nearly 75 students and faculty members. In both instances, he talked about his rise in the publishing industry.
But, more important, he talked about what, from his perspective as a leading communication industry executive, young people should think about as they prepare to venture into the "real world."
Much of what Steve said, I'm delighted to report, I have covered in previous posts. But one thing in particular that he emphasized was "take chances."
How incredibly true! Stepping outside your comfort zone and taking a chance on a new job opportunity, a new job location, a new set of job skills can pay big dividends. At the very least, you will say, "I tried it. It didn't work out...but I tried it." But you just might surprise yourself and find yourself doing something totally cool, unexpected, exciting, and exactly what you wanted to be doing!
I did this once myself. I had been laid off from a PR/Advertising firm in Boston back in the early 90s and, as luck would have it, my wife's company declared bankruptcy shortly after. After conducting a very serious job search and coming up empty-handed, I (or I should say we) decided that, if we were going to starve to death, better to do it in a warmer climate than offered in Boston. So we moved to Hawaii.
I didn't know a living soul in the state. But I reached out to a group of folks who were members of the Public Relations Society of America and asked for their advice. Note I didn't ask for a job...I asked for advice, something that didn't cost anyone a cent.
Long story short, after an intensive round of informational interviews and attendance at every communication-related meeting I could find, I was referred by a newly-minted friend to the Blood Bank of Hawaii where I was offered the position of Director of Marketing and was later promoted to Director of Communication Services. It was hands-down the best professional job I've had in my 40-plus years' experience.
But I never would have gotten this amazing opportunity had I stuck with the safe...the tried and proven...the same-old/same-old. I packed up and moved 10,000 miles away to start all over again. And it worked.
The one thing I really emphasize as I work with Communication students to sort out their future after Curry College is the value that can lie in venturing outside their familiar (and comfortable) nest.
Especially in today's world where mergers are reducing available job opportunities, and colleges are cranking out more and more young people armed with a diploma, internship experience, and mind-blowing college loans to be paid off, you have to be willing to take a chance.
Or is it really a "chance"??
"There's no such thing as chance;
And what to us seems merest accident
Springs from the deepest source of destiny."
(The Death of Wallenstein, Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller)