My first job (over the table) was far from glamorous. It was in the main campus dining hall wiping tables and serving food in an ill-fitting blue shirt and black pants. It was there I quite humbly learned to stay committed when I wanted to quit, to respectfully manage people above and beside me, and, most importantly, to remain professional no matter what was said or done. That job gave me the confidence—and the urgency—to ditch the uniform and get my second campus job as an office assistant for international programs, where I helped others travel the world when I couldn't. Eventually, I'd get a job as a peer writing consultant, which boosted my tenacity to pursue an internship in content marketing for an international media conglomerate located in the middle of Times Square. This internship ultimately ushered me in to my post-undergrad job on Wall Street, a global role which just this year brought me to the south of France. Here are three lessons I've taken on my journey from setting tables to having a seat at them.
Being a boss means acting as though you're a boss—even if you're starting from the bottom. Early on I discovered having an executive presence means being first-rate at all times, regardless of where you are, how you start, or what you do. It also means carrying yourself with a dignity that shows in your work ethic and the work you produce. In all of my jobs, no matter how stressful, and, at times, disappointing, I believed in what I had to offer, and "bossed" myself around to be good at whatever I did. This meant working twice as hard not because I had to, but because I chose to.
Simply taking the time to be prepared has taken me farther than I would've expected. It's not hard to prep yourself for opportunities that present themselves—and they will present themselves. Oftentimes without any warning. In my spare time, I wrote and rewrote my personal statement, my north star, which reminded me 1) I knew what my passion and purpose were, 2) I knew what I loved and hated to do, and 3) I knew where I saw myself and where I wanted to go.
Being fearless doesn't come down to how brave you are, but also how vulnerable you can be. Part of the reason as to how I've made it this far in my journey is because I've believed in myself to move forward past setbacks. On the other hand, the people who believe in me are the reason why I press forward to reach far distances. These people know my hopes, dreams, fears, and shortcomings because I was open enough to share with them. They ensure I'm not headed nowhere fast. They're kind enough to hold my hand, and firm enough to hold me accountable. The only way to have these kind of people in our lives is to have the courage to share with them our dreams, especially if those dreams scare us.