Random Is Good

March 29, 2013 § 1 Comment

I witnessed a panel discussion featuring a select group of highly accomplished Smith College alumnae three months before I graduated.  Back when I agonized over my future even more than I do now. When I did everything I could to convince myself that traveling alone was a terrible idea.

One of the alumnae, an Academy Award-winning documentarian, told the audience about her first post-graduate job: taking the temperatures of ham sandwiches at a children’s summer camp. (Why? The local health department required that food served to the children not exceed X temperature.)

“I would think to myself, ‘I have a Smith degree,’ and in would go the thermometer.”

Sure, I laughed when she said that. But I never forgot what she said next.

“Random is good.”

I think about my own post-graduate path often. I learned how to milk a cow, and later a goat. Then I worked in retail. Then I moved to Portland. I can’t say what’s to follow, for obvious reasons. I’m grateful for all of the stories I have (and will have) to tell.

I almost had no stories to tell at all. I was terrified at the thought of making a mistake and getting trapped in a career I hated. So for a while I did nothing.

Here’s the thing I’ve come to realize about about careers. They can change. You can change. Thanks largely in part to the current economic climate, the era of staying with a company or organization for several years is over.

One of my cousins, a fellow Midwest transplant, put it best: shouldn’t your first job suck anyway? It will encourage you to seek out something even better. To push yourself to try new things.

She also told me, “It doesn’t matter how you get there.” Now I’m finally starting to believe her.


§ One Response to Random Is Good

  • Molly says:

    Listen to her–She knows what she is talking about! Any job that you do, no matter how small, will lead you somewhere, somehow. It’s all part of the web that is your life. You just never know who you could meet or what you could learn along the way. At the very least, it will give you good material for your blog!

    Hang in there.

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