Do you ever a moment where you think something and you immediately follow with the thought,
"ohmygoodness, my parents/guardians/adult figures in life were RIGHT."
My dad has always been the school/career/cooking advice giver, while my mom has always been the person to encourage me to brush my hair/wear clean undies and let me know that "those shoes don't match that outfit." It took me a long time to admit it, but they were (and are!) pretty spot on about a lot of things. That took a lot of getting used to... and admitting. Phew. I feel better.
I remember being a kid, and my dad trying to get me to watch the original Star Wars movies, telling me how much I'd love them. I was totally not into it. Not even a little bit. And yet, there that 3 VHS tape set sat on our TV stand, staring at me every day. Not sure when, or how it happened, but I stumbled upon "Return of the Jedi" first, and the immediately needed to see the other two... and "Return of the Jedi" again. I loved them. And he was right.
Another time, he had been trying to encourage me to listen to a lot of bands from "his generation" including The Beatles. Again, so not into it, I'd rather listen to my Britney Spears CD. But then, one day, while driving around, "Come Together" came on the radio, and I admitted it was a really cool song. Dad wins another one.
But Star Wars/Beatles love aside, the biggest life lesson my dad ever tried to impart on me was "it's not what you know, its who you know" and its true. Its 100% true.
Education is important and by no means am I implying that it isn't. I'm a huge supporter of a college education because you not only learn things in the field of your choosing but (guess what) you also learn a lot of life lessons. And one of those life lessons, a lesson my dad had tried to teach me years and years before, is that establishing and maintaining relationships with a lot of people will help you out. A lot. I'm not talking romantic relationships, or even close friendships, but just meeting people and keeping in touch with them will eventually come in handy.
Here's an example, just to sort of explain my point further. I can look at each one of my jobs, and in almost every one, point to the exact person who helped me get that job. Here's the list:
- 15 years old, teller at a local bank; a family friend worked there and encouraged me to apply, and put in a good word for me.
- 16 years old, bear builder extraordinaire at Build-A-Bear (yes, seriously); my friend Amanda was already working there, and put in a good word for me.
- 18 years old, summer camp counselor in my hometown; my old tee-ball coach ran the program, remembered me (after years of running into him around town, and because I went to school with his son) and offered me the gig.
- 20 years old, selling books at Barnes & Noble; a friend of a friend is an author, and did a lot of signings at this store, and had established a relationship with their staff. Say it with me - put in a good word for me.
- 21 years old, internship for a local television station; a professor had a friend who worked at said station and passed along my resume on my behalf.
- 22 years old, internship at a major movie studio; another friend had a connection at said studio, and reached out to see if I could meet with that connection while in LA, which then turned into the interview for the internship.
- 23 years old, first real big girl job at a non-profit; a friend from high school, Dana, had been interning there at the time, knew of the job, and again, put in a good word for me.
- 25 years old, current dream job; two different co-workers at studio knew I was looking for a job, heard about this one, and both recommended me for it.
See how that works? Kind of crazy, right?
I certainly didn't get many of these jobs without having a skill set or some experience to back them up, BUT I can't say that I would have gotten any of them, had I not had a friend in the mix. That is something no college class every prepared me for, but it has never steered me wrong. Not once.