I began riding the subway around age seven so that I could meet my dad downtown for lunch. Almost immediately, my preconceived notion that there were only so many “professions”—doctor, lawyer, policeman, chef—was put to the test. As a child, you almost immediately become aware of these positions, as these jobs require certain outfits. As a result, you dress up as them when you play make-believe with your kindergarten friends.
But on the subway, not everyone was wearing scrubs or firefighter hats or spiffy suits. As a matter of fact, hardly anyone was.
As an outgoing child with an abundance of curiosity, I couldn’t hold myself back from asking riders what they did. After giving me, a young child riding the T alone, a puzzled look, I’d get my answers: “I’m a secretary at a law office”; “I work at Dunkin Donuts”; “I design websites”; “I do research on Leukemia.”
Wow. My seven-year-old self was astounded by all the opportunities that now appeared to be out there.
As I was getting to know peers throughout middle school and high school, I’d almost immediately ask the question, “What do your parents do?” My peers would answer with disinterest, saying things like, “Um, my dad like helps other companies.” But I was fascinated.
However, my fascination eventually turned to fear. Thirteen years later, as I sat in my college apartment contemplating my not-so-distant career, I was paralyzed by all the possibilities.
There were so many careers in my social sciences field, I didn’t know what to pursue as my time at Wesleyan University neared an end.
To begin my search, I started looking at websites for job opportunities. Clearly, this was not a good decision because my anxiety skyrocketed; there were SO many opportunities in SO many fields. Worse, they all required at least a resume and a cover letter, of which I had neither.
Stepping back from the search process, I began crafting a resume. Stringing together the work experiences I’d had in my 20 years of life on one piece of 8×11.5 paper made me realize I actually had had quite a few jobs. Unfortunately, they weren’t really jobs to brag about—ice cream store scooper, lifeguard, camp counselor. But I guess I had to start somewhere. I spent hours formatting, changing around the fonts, retitling sections. And I discovered LinkedIn, which made my job even easier.
At about the same time, my roommates started facing the “I’m graduating from college soon” reality. They needed jobs, too. Lucky for them, they had more of a sense of what they wanted to do; they just had no idea where to turn or how to package themselves. That’s where I stepped in, directing them to respective job listing sites and helping them piece together resumes.
And it dawned on me: maybe my job should involve helping others find jobs. Though I had never been, I applied and got hired to work at Wesleyan’s Career Center.
Within a few hours of working there, I was inundated with job and internship opportunities. For the first time, however, it didn’t stress me out. Because I knew I didn’t have to decide which one I wanted to apply to. Rather, I would simply be helping others sort through these offerings.
One fateful day of sorting, I came across an internship submitted by a Wesleyan alum for a local startup called EverTrue.
Schools were the first places that had helped me start to figure out what I might (and might not) want to pursue in the future. With that in mind, perhaps continuing to work in school advancement would help me further determine what I’d like to do in the coming years.
Also, the idea that the company was technology-based attracted me. As I was working on my resume and searching for opportunities to post for students, I was constantly reminded of technology’s importance in the whole job-searching process. And marketing sounded good to me—if I believed in the company’s mission, why wouldn’t I want to spread the word?!
Looking back on those bewildered childhood T rides, I think the seven-year-old me would be pretty wowed. Here I am, sitting in my jeans and sweater, sipping Nespresso from an EverTrue mug. I’m a marketing intern at a fun and innovative startup.
Not necessarily what I had envisioned. But not a bad gig, if you ask me.