One of my mentors, now age 80, is on a mission to document some of his life’s stories for his grandchildren. He bought a laptop for this explicit purpose and is committed to capturing some history and insights that he can share with others.

One of his stories is about “how I found my career.” I love that phrasing because it reflects reality — that a career often finds you, rather than you finding it through assessments, aptitude tests, or well-meaning advice. It also implies that landing on a career is a journey — not something that you magically know upon graduation from college, or heaven forbid, high school.

His story has also inspired me to reflect on how I found my career. I am not an elementary teacher as was my initial thought; I’m not an accountant like the tests recommended I should be, and my career wasn’t even in journalism as my college major suggested. There have been many twists and turns along my path but I think it all began with the “Usherettes” organization in high school — a group reserved for freshmen and sophomore girls who wore long polyester skirts and ushered at the annual school musical. Because of that “experience,” I joined the “Host and Hospitality” committee of the Union Board in college (ushering at events) — and my Union Board involvement led to an eventual graduate assistantship and then a professional position in student activities which kicked off my career in higher education.

Two takeaways from today’s dot: 1) reflect on how you found your career — not just your first job, but the pivotal experience that kickstarted your eventual professional journey; and 2) consider how minor or serendipitous that initial experience really was. For many, it started with a tap on the shoulder and someone suggesting you get involved in something. It wasn’t positioned as the starting point of your career, but rather someone seeing a fit between you and an opportunity. Be that someone for someone else. You may be the catalyst that helps another find their eventual life’s work.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: