The Three Best Kept Secrets of Your Professional Path (Trust me, It's Not What You Think)
Picture it. Senior year at Agnes Scott College.
Graduation was looming on the horizon. I had no job offers and was getting anxious at the thought of returning to my hometown as a failure. I really wanted to be in the music business, but had yet to land any type of offer. I was still interning at the Atlanta Chapter of The Recording Academy, which gave me hope. Yet, as the days passed, I could feel myself getting more and more discouraged.
In an effort to make something happen, I contacted my Women in Communications mentor, who worked at The Weather Channel, and she got me an interview for an entry level position. I can’t remember the exact job description. However, I do know it had something to do with the commercials that ran during program breaks. I met with the supervisor of that department and I really tried to be enthusiastic -- about the position, the company, my experience (as limited as it was), and the dedication I was bringing to the table. She asked me about the internships I had done so far -- one at Odyssey Entertainment, one at Paste Magazine, one at The Recording Academy -- all music related. I talked about projects I worked on, how committed I was to delivering good work, how excited I was about the future.
“Wow. That’s great. It sounds like you’re really passionate about music. Why don’t you just continue to work in music?”
I can imagine the look on my face as my jaw dropped. It was obvious to everyone in the interview that day that what made me tick was music.
I can’t even remember what my response was. It was a clumsy mumble. Needless to say, I didn’t get that job. It was the only job interview I had during my Senior year in college.
I did not secure a job before I graduated from college.
As life would have it, my internship at The Recording Academy turned into a contract position -- I covered my colleague’s maternity leave that summer. It bought me more time and gave me hope that being in music was a viable career path.
However, as the summer progressed, I found myself even more terrified. Nothing was working out. I was networking, putting myself out there, following up on vague leads till the cows came home.
Nothing. Nada. Nathan. Nope.
After graduation, I moved into on-campus summer housing and even that came to an end. I then moved all of my belongings into the Suburban Lodge, just north of the office. It was a dump and, every night that I returned, I would throw myself on the bed and weep.
“Dear God, just give me a chance. I promise you I’ll work my ass off. I won’t take it for granted. This is really what I want to do. Please just give me a chance. I’m trying my best and nothing is happening. I’m scared. I didn’t come this far to only come this far. Please help me.”
On and on and on I’d pray. And cry. And pray. And cry. Until I fell asleep.
Gosh, just thinking about it makes me teary eyed.
Then it happened. God showed up and showed out.
It was five days before my last day at The Recording Academy. I met my future boss and landed a music gig in Miami. Latin music. At the time, I thought I’d be end up in Hip-Hop/R&B. In Atlanta. Maybe New York. Even Cali. Miami NEVER crossed my mind. I loved Latin music, but never considered a career in it.
Yet, that’s where God wanted me and that’s where I went.
That’s great, LaTisha. You’ve told this whole story and you have yet to reveal the three best kept secrets of my professional path. Land the plane, boo.
Well, honey bunny, to put it quite simply, YOU are the best kept secret of your professional path. Let me expound.
Here are the three best kept secrets of your professional path --
1) Know that you know. In today’s instaculture, it’s so easy to get confused and to doubt your desires and your decisions. It’s really easy to stop listening to your heart’s whisper and to get lost in the noise all around you. At every moment, you’re being told to opt for job with benefits instead of pursuing your heart’s calling. When you were born, God installed inside of you your very own GPS system with the specific coordinates of your path. Not mine, not your mom’s, not your boyfriend’s. You do yourself a great disservice when you try to follow someone else’s. Most people have no idea WHAT they’re doing or WHY they’re doing it.
It’s a much more interesting and valuable exercise to ask yourself what you really want, what it would look like for you, and how you can make it happen. The same energy that is behind your fear and your doubt is put to much better use when you think and execute on making it happen.
2) Trust the timing of your life. I don’t regret going on the interview at The Weather Channel because it showed me just how obvious it was that I belonged in music. However, the energy I put behind obtaining that interview was one of desperation. Desperation can make you do some really dumb shit, if you let it.
Don’t get me wrong. Had I landed the gig at The Weather Channel, I’m sure it would’ve been a-okay. I’m certain it’s a great place to work. I have nothing against The Weather Channel and I use their app daily. However, I believe that rejection is a form of God’s protection and direction. NO makes way for the right YES.
That being said, I came to the realization that I am a circle in a sea of triangles. I learned that it’s better to put my energy into being the best circle that I can be, instead of trying to be a triangle. I kept at it -- kept working, networking, and praying. All of the signals that I put out into the universe let God know that I was serious about being in the music business.
I did as much as I could and I let God do the rest.
3) As I heard Rev Run once say, your network determines your net worth. Never doubt the value of your relationships. The key is to develop and maintain them when you don’t need anything, so that they become a safety net that catches you when you fall and lifts you when you want to fly. You also become a part of your network’s safety net. Help others when you can, so that the same helping energy will come back to you threefold.
I am so grateful to Michele Caplinger and Erin Baxter who gave me the opportunity to work at The Recording Academy, all those years ago. Had I not interned there, I would have never gotten my first full-time gig in music. I would not be who I am today.
I share all of this with you, honey bunny, because you may be at a point in your life, where you are uncertain about where to go or what to do. You may not even have a clearly defined vision of what you’d like to do or where you’d like to work.
That is okay. It happens to everyone at some point in his or her life.
The key is to dedicate yourself to the exploration and discovery of YOU. Know that you know and that the path will appear before you. You just gotta keep moving.
You are the caterpillar undergoing the meltdown that is metamorphosis. You will emerge a butterfly. Stick with it. The gorgeous potential inside of you will come to fruition.
Even if you take a job and it doesn’t work out, it’s okay. Trust the timing of your life. Trust that God won’t keep you in a place that does not serve your highest good. Trust that it’s all coming together and that everything will work out right when it needs to.
Now it's your turn. Comment below and tell me about a time when everything worked out in your favor, just not on your timeline.
I’m cheering for you. Like you’ve tied a knot at the end of your rope and are holding on for dear life. God is on the way.
From the Front Row,