Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I’m no Wayne Gretzky, but as I look back over the last year, I’ve learned a thing or two about taking chances. Am I an expert? No way! But as I sit here, almost exactly one year after I first set foot in Villing & Company’s offices, I’m overwhelmed by the difference that can come from simply taking a chance. Also, I think it’s important, especially during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, to periodically take a step back and reflect. If you’re like me, you quickly become overwhelmed by the beauty of the journey.
Back in December 2014, I had made what amounted to a cold-call on LinkedIn to an account executive at Villing & Company, a local marketing agency where one of my college classmates had been an intern. I was asked to come in for an interview of sorts. All I was looking for was some career advice. What I found was a journey.
Let me pause the story for a second. First of all, as I said before, I’m no Wayne Gretzky. Taking chances still scares me. I’m 23 years old, and I’m telling you a story about when I was a 22 year-old college senior. Those of you who are reading this undoubtedly have much more experience than I do. I’m in my first job out of college, and I still have so much to learn every day.
I guess that is what inspired me to write this post. I find myself being so focused on what’s ahead and where I need to improve, that I lose sight of where I’ve been. It was just a year ago that I was meeting the receptionist for the first time as I came in for my interview. Now we work together and share family stories. It’s just amazing to look back on how it all happened.
As I said, I came into that first meeting simply looking for career advice. I knew the reputation that the agency had, so I figured it was a good place to start. I came to discuss what a college senior like myself could do to begin a career in public relations. Only a few minutes after I sat down, we began discussing a possible internship with the agency — something I didn’t even know was on the table.
I left that meeting not knowing what the future would hold. They said they would get back to me on whether or not they had an opening for an intern. Even though I wasn’t necessarily looking for an internship, I figured I’d take a chance.
From January until my graduation in May, I interned at Villing & Company. It was an amazing experience! I learned so much, and it still amazes me that it all started with a LinkedIn message. Even if the story ended on the last day of my internship with a lunch at Hacienda and a gift basket, it would have been quite the journey. But even more amazing is the fact that the story gets even better from there.
A few weeks before my internship was done, the president of the agency asked if we could meet at the end of the work day. Just like my first meeting at the agency, I came in not expecting anything. He began discussing a possible work opportunity after graduation and he wanted to gauge my interest.
I didn’t know what to say except…of course I’m interested! Obviously, I ended up accepting the position, and I’ve now been working at the agency for a little over 7 months. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better job right out of college. I’m so blessed to be a part of such a great team. It truly is overwhelming to think of how much of a blessing this journey has been over the last year.
On top of that, I have learned so much. Working for an agency that has built such a strong network over the years has exposed me to great networking opportunities such as our local AMA and AAF chapters. My writing skills have grown too, as I’ve been able to write for our company blog as well as writing press releases and social media content for clients. I’ve learned so much about the agency/client relationship, and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with so many wonderful clients. It’s been a whirlwind, but I’m trying to soak up as much as possible.
I hope you take away two things from my story. One, don’t be afraid to take chances. What started as a shot-in-the-dark LinkedIn message turned into an unbelievable job opportunity. It forced me to step outside my comfort zone, but it was completely worth it and then some.
Two, take time to step back and reflect on where you’ve been. If you’re anything like me, you will be overwhelmed by the blessings and amazing relationships that you’ve seen along the way. While all of this was happening, I won a trip to the Super Bowl just days after getting engaged, and in September I married Sarah.
Looking back on the last year, there is truly so much to be thankful for. With that, I wish you all a joyous holiday season and a Merry Christmas!