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What encouraged you to become what you are today?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Tiffany’s Answer

I studied economics in college but decided I wanted to try something different after my first job out of college, which focused on the financial services industry. I had heard about public relations but didn't really know what that meant. I was going to study journalism in college but I was more interested in magazine publishing instead of newspaper, which was the focus at my school. I had heard of PR but did my research, talked to a friends older sister and friends of friends, and started applying for jobs. I got a job with Burston Marsteller, one of the largest PR firms in the world. My boss left soon after and I ended up following her to another agency - a smaller one where I wore a lot of different hats and really got a full taste of not only public relations/public affairs, but also about building a new office and all the pieces that are necessary to be successful. The rest was history - with my work experience spanning more than 20 years between public relations/public affairs and communications. I was will to take risks, stay connected with clients, co-workers and other partners, and keep on pushing to learn more and adapt as the industry evolved.

My biggest piece of advice would be to focus on:

Networking - I would spend time talking to different people you know or others know to learn about different jobs/careers/occupations. There are so many different careers out there to learn about. Making time for coffee or a phone call to interview people to learn about how they got there, what did they study in school, what were the different steps they took to get to where they are now, what do they do day-to-day, etc. Learning about a variety of different careers will help you figure out if any of them sound interesting. If you can apply for interns while you are student, go for it.

Ask Questions - Once you start working, ask lots of questions. Be that person that is always learning more about your specific job and responsibilities but also how it fits into the bigger picture with your company and the industry. Always offer to help in other areas outside of your usual responsibilities to see how other parts of the business work.

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Katie’s Answer

Great question, Jessica! I find it so interesting to hear how people ended up in the professions they're in because you'll find that everyone takes their own path to get there.

For me, I went to school for Accounting and got my degree and my CPA certification and started at a big firm as an auditor. While I liked the team based environment and people I worked with, auditing just didn't seem like the best fit for me. I spoke to a mentor of mine that I worked with and she actually was the one to help me realize that my passions and strongest skill-set were in project management. She also helped me transition within my firm to a project management role that leveraged my CPA/accounting background - perfect fit! 10 years later and I'm still in that career!

I think its hard to know where you'll end up, and sometime you just need to figure it out as you go. My best piece of advice would be to be honest with yourself about what you enjoy and what you're good at, and network with others in that profession to learn as much as possible.

Best of luck!
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Holly’s Answer

I don't feel like my career is very linear... and I used to be really insecure about that. But I realize it's my inquisitiveness and curiosity has enabled me to be successful in a lot of different companies (ie. Samsung, Facebook, Lockheed Martin) across a lot of different roles (ie. Contracts, Product Development, and Analyst).

What I have over the years is that what matters to me over the years is:

- WHERE I work
- WHAT values the company has
- WHO I work with

After trying on a lot of different hats, I am now a Business Systems Analyst. I love the challenging and complex nature of my role, as well as the ability within my role to do a lot of different functions. Somes days I'm a data analyst. Other days, I'm like a product manager.
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Helen’s Answer

I love this question -- and it can be answered in so many different ways -- but to not overwhelm you I will speak to where I am presently in my career.

I started my career as a fast food worker where I spent 4 years working my way to a manager and from that day forward I spent the next 28 years working as a manager in various call centers in my hometown. I recently made a switch leaving the role as a manager to tackle the sales arena and it was a leap that I wasn't quite sure I would survive. Being the person to dole out the performance expectation to others I would wonder early on in this new career if I could be "coached". Would I be able to be someone else's employee. Once I let go of the fear of the unknown and surrendered to the new role I am in now not only did I discover a hidden talent but also found freedom in worrying about just my success. I would win or fail all on my own and I had no one to blame or celebrate but myself.

My advise. I believe wherever you are is exactly where you are meant to be. I have made a lifetime of mistakes in my career. Chose positions I wasn't right for or hated in the process. Been fired. Quit. Promoted and then Demoted. And have been given high award honors. All that would not have come without the path I took. Good or bad. Trust yourself. Trust that you are going to fail at things in your path but the true mark is how you recover from that failure. How you get up after a fall. Don;t overthink it. Enjoy the journey!!
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Scott’s Answer

I agree good question. What motivated me was the need to make money and support myself. What encouraged me was the challenge of doing the right things to excel. Translated, my thought process was to try and out think my competition, find a different angle no one else did, be creative whenever I could be and see the results. Business will provide you complete validation, good or bad. I always liked that. I didn't do enough to get the deal or I did! I needed to get X outcome out of a meeting and I navigated it correctly so I achieved it. The encouragement is the wins and even the losses. It is the constant application of lessons learned in dealing with people and things. Similar to winning a football game, or even winning a scavenger hunt. The fun of doing it as a team is even more rewarding. And let's not forget, money is also a big encouragement but I can tell you, if the other pieces are not in place, it won't work.
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Crystal’s Answer

Honestly, it's been a windy road. Definitely college was a very enlightening experience. The community I was a part of, classes I took, the mentors I've met along the way, they all guided me to where I am today. Through internships and coursework, I managed to identify things I enjoyed vs didn't enjoy which helped me to focus on my current career path.
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Carina’s Answer

Hello!
I honestly made a list of things I enjoy doing (meeting new people, being in leadership positions, communication, helping people, quick pace environments) and looked at what careers would fit my passions. Business seemed like the obvious choice.

Additionally, during my first year of college, I became a tour guide and I realized that I loved recruiting people to come to my school, so I thought I'd enjoy doing that for a company as well. Because of this, I decided to study HR.
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Carter’s Answer

Hey Jessica,

This is a great question!!

Personally, I believe what keeps me motivated at all times has to deal with where I come from.

I come from a lower-middle class family who never really had the financial means to afford me the nicer things in life when I was growing up. Something about seeing my family struggle financially played a big role in me wanting to pursue a degree majoring in the study of money (accounting & finance) because I really wanted to help close that financial illiteracy gap within my own family. In addition, when my father immigrated into this country in his 20's, his dream was to create a better future for his future kids at that time. When I learned of his dream when he shared it with me as a teenager, I always knew I could never let his dream die from that point forward. Everything that I'm doing in my career and life is not just for me, it is for my family.

This is what encourages me to be and do better each and every single day.

Stay hungry and stay focused my friend!


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Blake’s Answer

My internship helped me make my decision. Getting to see what my job would be first hand is what sealed the deal for me.
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Mya’s Answer

Hey Jessica,

I love this questions because it can have so many different answers! I am an Associate Marketing Manager at a tech company and focus in customer insights.

I talk a lot to our customers to learn about them (e.g. how the pandemic has affected them mentally and finally) and then find insights around common themes and areas that we can help them. I really enjoy the work I do and what encouraged me to do what I do is the passion I have around helping others. I would advice you to follow your passions in life and that will help you find a career that you love.
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Rebecca’s Answer

MONEY! :)

While very true, I always knew I wanted to try new things, I wanted stability and more than anything else- I wanted to get out of my small little town. That's where the hustle started. No one in my family had ever gone into business or had gone to business school, so I had no one to tell me where to turn and what mistakes to avoid.

I was always looking for a new opportunity to get me to a bigger hourly rate and eventually a larger salary amount.
Even with a lot of sudden job loss in my background, I always made sure I went up in salary. I never asked for the same or lower salary (always an increase) even after the 2008 crash. The time you spend at a job is experience that the next job should be paying out more for.

After 2008 crash, I only wanted to be in a job that was stable enough to not cut me. Now, with COVID, I'm so grateful my current employer not only considers me stable but is considered essential and can stay open during pandemics.

I believe a lot of different factors come into play after you get a degree and start working in the "real world". I hope you can find motivation in all of it!
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Melissa’s Answer

My path was very linear, but not all are. Enjoy the journey, even if it takes you somewhere unexpected.

I was fortunate to have a high school teacher recognize my computer and creative skills. She had me sign up for one of her classes called "Desktop Publishing" which is now graphic design. I excelled at the class and was able to help fellow students through the class. She then encouraged me to enroll in other digital creative courses (web design, animation). After realizing I didn't want to explore those specifically, I researched how to get a degree/job in graphic design. I applied to several colleges, and chose the one that fit best. My parents didn't have these same opportunities, so they encouraged me to keep pursuing my dream and supported me when/how they were able.
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