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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Advice: follow your dreams. No, seriously.

I'm back on the blog every day wagon, and since I had to play catch up this morning, today comes with 2 posts!  As if I haven't already bored you to tears, now you get to read TWO DIFFERENT THINGS.  Aren't you lucky?

Today's assignment is to give a piece of advice I have for others.  So, here goes.

Follow your dreams.

That's it!  Just kidding.  That isn't it.  And I know it sounds cliche and boring and how many conversations can we have about this but, truly, if you're even remotely intrigued as to why this is the advice I'm giving you, hear me out.

Do you remember when you were in high school, and you started looking at colleges, and you had to choose which colleges you wanted to apply to because of what you wanted to major in?  Basically, society is saying to you, at sixteen or seventeen, "hey!  Figure out what you want to do with THE REST OF YOUR LIFE and now find a place to do it and get on with yourself."  I don't know about you, but at sixteen, I struggled with decided what to eat for dinner... planning out my life wasn't exactly the easiest task.

Thankfully, I've never quite diverted from what I originally wanted to study, and although there had been some distractions - philosophy was enticing but I couldn't figure out a career path; I wanted to train dolphins but hated bio - I never quite left the communications world behind.  But I sometimes I wondered what would have happened if I did.  What if I truly focused all of my energy on studying science, just to find out I didn't enjoy hanging out with dolphins?  Okay, that probably wouldn't happen, but still, that curiosity was always there.

I was lucky in that I got to do two internships in the media world; one for a local nightly newsmagazine, and one for a major film studio.  While I was interning at the studio, some outside factors had a serious negative affect on my life outside of my internship, which then caused my internship (and time in LA) to become less than stellar.  I went back home disappointed in myself, and feeling the need to write off LA forever.  I finished up school, interned at the newsmagazine again, and then got my first big girl job at a nonprofit.

Even though things were going well at my new job, I had this nagging in the back of my head that wouldn't go away.  It sort of sounded like Fran Drescher, and it kept reminding me that I studied film in college, that I should be working in film, that I should be giving the film industry another try before I wind up with a house and kids and unable to just get up and move.  It kept at me long enough that I knew it wasn't a passing feeling, so I started to entertain the idea.  Once I entertained it, it had its hooks in me, and I knew it wasn't going to let go.

Luckily for me, I had stayed in touch with many of my contacts at the studio and had the opportunity to use vacation time to catch up with them and remind them of how awesome I am.  But by no means does that mean the road was easy.  I sent my resume out to many openings, never to get a response.  I did two interviews and was turned down both times.  I had one person who gave me an hour of advice, and that advice was to pick one thing and be good at it, because this world doesn't allow you to have multiple passions (just an fyi, I ignored this advice) and I seriously started considering just quitting my job, moving across the country and starting from scratch, which absolutely scared me.  Then I got the call about the job I currently have, and the rest is history.

What I'm trying to say is, if you have a dream, or multiple dreams (because everyone has multiple dreams) you should follow them.  You don't necessarily have to make a whole career change, but if you want to, why not?  There are certainly many factors to consider and I am NOT endorsing quitting a stable career on a whim, but I do think that there is opportunity to try and see if other things may interest you.  Many of my coworkers at the non-profit became interested in jobs there after volunteering their time.  My cousin enjoyed working PR for a heart-related non-profit so much, she studied nursing and is now a clinical nurse specialist at a major metropolitan hospital.  A friend loves food and writing so much, she turned that into a job as a local food columnist for an online news source.  One sunny spring afternoon, a friend asked if he could take photos of me since he had just bought a new camera - now he's a pretty successful freelance photographer.  The point is, you can easily test the waters of a new venture by volunteering, taking a course or two, or just trying it out as a hobby.

If there's something you're itching to do, if there is a nagging voice in your head (maybe it isn't Fran Drescher but you know what I mean), if there is something you're dying to try and could regret not doing later, then do it.  Find a way, stick it out and give it a shot.  You may be surprised at the results.

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