It is the month of Thanksgiving – a perfect time to reflect and remember all that we have to be grateful for.
To be honest, I’m thankful for every job that I’ve ever had. Not just because good jobs are hard to come by these days, but because they were all different and all suited me rather well.
The job that I want to discuss today though is my very first “real” job out of college. I was floundering a big after graduation. It took me a good 8 months to find a “career” job. There seemed to be zero good fits for me and my English degree, until I stumbled upon an ad for a job at an international boating magazine. After studying the company a little bit, I knew this was the job I wanted. I was ecstatic when I got an in person interview.
I was a nervous wreck and dripping in sweat under my suit. Everyone was so nice and it was a beautiful office located right on the bay. But, everyone was a passionate boater. It was their life. When they asked me about my boating experience, I choked up and looked nervously around the room. I knew if I mentioned my Pop-Pop’s small time fishing boat they would smile and think “awe isn’t that cute, that’s the type of boats we use as a dinghy”. I put on my biggest smile and said, “well, not much, but I can’t wait to learn and become a boater like the rest of you!” I couldn’t believe it when they offered me the job on the spot.
Like most other first “real” jobs I learned a lot of valuable lessons, tools, and became much more self-aware about myself. Like any job, it wasn’t perfect and I did my fair share of complaining during my time here. But in hindsight, it was pretty great. Here are a few of the things I’m thankful for the most about my 3 years in this position:
1. I learned to stand up for myself and to use my voice. When I started this job I was feeling pretty low about myself. I had done so well in college, but couldn’t find a job. While at this position I gained confidence in myself. I learned to speak out about what I like and didn’t like about my position and low and behold, a mere 6 months after starting, they created a new position for me – that better suited my passions and tool set. I learned that my voice matters.
2. It provided me the opportunity to travel the country. Part of my job entailed traveling around to different boat shows across the country. I got to travel to some pretty spectacular coastal places in New York, Florida, California, and Washington. It was a lot of time away from home and a lot of hard work. I would never want to go back to the grueling 12 hour days of running a boat show, but I wouldn’t trade in my experience to see beautiful parts of this country on someones else’s dime. Although we worked really hard, we also enjoyed times at fun restaurants and bars. I have so many memories like the ER visit in Miami, being in San Diego for Mardi Gras, and group happy hours on the deck of boats in the San Juan islands.
3. It opened me up to new things. Through this job I became friends with people I would have never considered being friends with in college. It allowed me to see that “clicks” don’t have to exist in adult life. Before I started this job, I swore that I hated wine and I would have never tried sushi. And surprise, surprise, now I love sushi and am a major wino. I also would have never considered becoming a graphic and web designer – but while at this job I self-taught myself some basic html and Illustrator and had so much fun that I decided to go back to school for it!
4. It Made me less shy. When I first started at the young age of 22, I was basically terrified to call up strangers on the phone to talk to them about our business. But, as my three years progressed I quickly found myself as the bubbly blonde that loved welcoming and introducing our clients at events and even acted as the emcee during our Auction and Trivia nights. In hindsight, this job really helped me grow into myself.
5. It introduced me to a whole new world of people. I never knew that “boaters” were such a niche demographic of people, or that they were so fun! These people can drink! I had so much fun over the years meeting various welcoming boaters at our events. I think that was my favorite part of this job – hearing all of the amazing stories of our readers and event attendees. Most of them were devoted boating and travel enthusiasts who gave up all of their belongings and their home to live aboard their yachts and to travel the world. They had a dream and they made it come true. I found them to be inspiring and once again fun!
6. Instilled in me a good work ethic and to live by the motto, “work hard, play hard” As I mentioned above, we worked extremely hard. But, we always rewarded ourselves at the end of the day with either a night out somewhere or by having a few glasses of wine back at the hotel or office. Even though it was sometimes hard to get up the next day, we would get up, strap on our boat shoes and attack the next day. (I know for sure I wouldn’t be able to keep up now at age 30.) Even though we drove each other insane sometimes, I learned the value of team work. Our boss would always says, “You gotta work hard to play hard.” and I remember thinking that it was so cheesy. But, it is a good motto to live by at any age. I continue to celebrate each victory while simultaneously look forward to the next step.
What is a job that you’ve had that you are thankful for?