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A Millennial's Experience Of Finding the Right Path

A Millennial's Experience Of Finding the Right Path

I sat on the edge of the bath tub with my heart in my stomach and my mind racing. 45 minutes ago I was told my position was eliminated in radio news, and I didn’t know what to do. I was living pay check to pay check and needed to figure out how I was going to pay my bills. My biggest fear was that I was going to have to move back in with my parents again; third time since graduation.

Like most millennials I was told that in order to be successful I needed to find my passion, go to college for it and then I would find my million dollar dream job. Nobody really painted the reality of what life was like in the working world. Not wanting to work with kids or do anything that deals with math or science, I settled on broadcasting. I went through the program and even pushed myself through the doubt of “is this something I really want to do?” During my last semester, I took a “Media and The Law class” and thought, very interesting. I ended up graduating and wish I would have picked something else, but I was in debt and was burnt out of college life.

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I knew that I was going to have to scrape by for a few years because media doesn’t pay that much until you get into top markets, which everyone is trying to get into. I landed a part time position at a radio station in my hometown, with a $7.45 an hour pay rate. I was on call all the time and worked all hours and days of the week; social life was nonexistent. Most of it was just babysitting the computer so the programming would run on time. It was boring and the old boy’s club. I hated it.

Finally after four years there I got my big break and made it into a top market, Chicago. I packed my bags and headed up to the Windy City with a big smile on my face. Even though I just got out of debt and was stressed out and not on a normal sleep cycle I could feel myself floating up. The job I accepted was an administrative assistant job, not what I wanted but it was at least full time with benefits and slightly better pay in my field, with normal hours.

[Related: Why You're Unhappy with Your Work and Four Steps to Feeling Better]

After a year I was miserable. I wanted to get out but didn’t know what else to do and quite frankly my skill set didn’t match with much else. I was in that dark miserable place, which got worse every year until the company laid me off. Didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye and ask for references. All the effort I put in to get to this place was wiped away. It was pack up and leave.

My network, while small was gone. I was by myself. I cried and then blew my nose. If I wasn’t going to help myself then who would? The first thing I needed to do was set up my unemployment and health insurance. The next thing I did was get my resume ready and looked for volunteer opportunities as a way to get out of the house. I’ve always wanted to volunteer for a political campaign and being a huge Hillary Clinton supporter I felt like in some ways it was fate that I was laid off during a year that she was running for president.

In the beginning I did a lot of phone banking, which is not the most glamorous thing to do. As time went on I built up my network and got more involved; day trips to Iowa, Wisconsin and Indiana, attending debate watch parties, canvassing the beach, etc. Not expecting this to lead into a job, I was relaxed and making friends. Through this process I met the political director of a Congresswoman and down the line he ended up hiring Field Organizers for her for the 2016 Election. Still needing a job that would allow me to pivot to another industry, I knew this opportunity would help me make that change. This position will give me access to the Congresswoman’s network and it is a network I desperately need.

[Related: Can a Volunteer Beat a Paid Professional for a Job?]

I don’t want to make it seem like this past year has been an easy road for me. It has been quite difficult and at times depressing and very lonely; however, during this time I had plenty of time to think about life and what success means to me. I realized that success for me means having a work life balance. I need to find a job that would provide that and find out what my strengths and interests are. Turns out the “Media and the Law” class seed bloomed, and I found out that I wanted to go into law, specifically Intellectual Property law. After doing research I decided to become an Intellectual Property paralegal, not everyone’s cup of tea but fits perfectly with me.

I don’t know where my life will go after the election. I will still be in school but job-wise I don’t know. My hope is that the people I meet while doing this job will usher me in to the hidden job market and I will be able to find a full-time job that fits my needs. This year is not going to be easy, but I am happy to see and feel that my life is back on the upswing.

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