From Google to Gumption: The Time is Now

This blog post was written on June 13th, 2010: Hi. :)

My name is Michelle, and I'm a 22-year-old college graduate who majored in Psychology. If you watched my application video, you already know a few things about me – that I like dancing, music, green tea, showers, deep discussions, and people. I'm also an avid learner, which is why I have a serious habit of googling everything.

That's how I came upon the One-Week Job Program.

Googling.

During the Christmas break before my last semester of college, I was having a personal struggle regarding how to move forward with my life. As a psychology major, you're supposedly limited...a belief that many people remind me of daily. It seems to me that when you're a Liberal Arts major, people worry/criticize heavily about your life after undergraduate studies. All arrows point only to postgraduate education.

I chose to study Psychology because aside from the fact that it just “felt right” in comparison to all my other options, I had always been concerned with the mind, behavior, how the two interacted, and how they manifested in different people. So Psychology it was. However, it didn't stay that way all four years. Over the course of my undergraduate career, I constantly analyzed my academic concentration.

I vaguely remember changing my major once and my minor several times, eventually graduating with what I had started. So you see, I experienced much guilt...understandable, given societal standards, external pressure, and everything between. Back to Christmas break and my personal struggle. I was struggling because I felt guilty that I had not made one concrete decision about my future.

I'm the type of person that tries to do what I feel, and I felt that applying to graduate school or applying for just any job was a terrible idea. I didn't know why. I just knew that I didn't want to be lazy, but I didn't want to settle. Still, another thing I knew was that just in case I decided somewhere down the road that I wanted to apply for a job, I needed to be prepared. So, I turned to Google for help.

I felt as if the best way to build the framework for a successful job search was to think as if I were an expert. Most of my expert-centered hunting led me to websites of recruitment technology. After bookmarking many helpful sites for later, I came across CareerWaymark.com, the blog of recruitment technology guru Scott Williamson. I found the posts to be so wonderful that I spent several hours reading each one, stopping to read the reference links as well.

One of the posts made me look twice. It was about a man named Sean Aiken...trying 52 jobs for a year ? Sean sounded like a guy after my own heart. I clicked on through to read the article from which the post came. After that, I did more “Sean-focused” googling out of intense curiosity, but my fatigue won me over minutes later. I concluded that I had found enough resources to aid me in a top-notch job search; I closed my computer and felt at peace.

I had this strong feeling in me that even though I could not define how at the moment, my future was going to be just fine. I felt as if I was meant to be a part of something...something that would enable me to grow and help others...something that not everyone would understand or agree with...something that wouldn't be orthodox, but that would be important to do. I wanted this “something” very badly, so...even though I didn't really know what “it” meant, I went with it.

Come the new year, I went back to the university for my final semester of undergraduate schooling. On a random day, I remembered Sean and fell upon this site. I noticed a heading I hadn't noticed before: “Program.” Per my thorough nature, I read everything I could've possibly read about the Program, and smiled. Everything about the Program resonated in me. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, and I was ready to do something about it-just not something that would lock me down in a situation I wasn't indubitably happy with.

I wanted to live every day with fervency, nothing less. I had always been inclined to apply for opportunities for the sole reason that I really wanted to be a part of them, not for prestige or anything of the sort. Yet, my feelings about this Program were different from anything I had ever experienced. Wacky thoughts such as “this was made for me” actually came to my brain. I truly believed that my blind faith that something was out there for me brought me to this chance. Though I could not define what I was feeling at that moment, I wanted to be a One-Week Job Program participant very badly, so I went with it.

"Wanting my want to not leave me wanting. Yearning, needing, craving, thirsting, longing. Working. Proving. And perhaps, pleading."

-CASEY BECK

As I mentioned before, this was the first time I had an overflowing heart for something. Applying felt so right that I was afraid to do it. Surely you know what I'm describing. I was afraid that my passion was so much so that, were I not to succeed, I'd be intensely disappointed. Disappointment ain't painless, friends. Nevertheless, I knew that my old ways were just that, old. This was a possibility to put my passionate ways to work. I needed to jump in the water and be okay with the chance that I might run into a shark. I pressed on, only with my heart, leaving all “what if” thoughts behind.

“What if” is a phrase of fear, and of pride. If you don't go for what you believe in, you can't fail. Yes, life is less frightening that way, and you're technically always right about what is to happen, but life that way is also...lifeless. Take action more often than not. While you will be risking failure, you'll also be “risking” success.

Sounds like a great risk to me.

With regard to my application, I wanted it to be engaging, honest, universal, and totally representative of me. I had to have faith for that too, and wait until the right time to produce a video/written application that I thought satisfied all those criteria. This move of my mine turned out to be a great one. Now, two weeks later, I still have not found sufficient words to express how...how lucky I feel. Lucky to have such wonderful support from such wonderful people, some of whom I've never met. I have received several emails and messages from individuals who have expressed their joy and confidence in me.

Some people have thanked me for saying the words they felt they could not say, and doing the things they felt they could not do. I'm not quite sure I'm deserving of them, but due to the responses, I feel both encouraged and humbled. I feel encouraged because I know now that it is true: Whatever you think about, you bring about. If I believe, it will come. I'm humbled because I know that I need others to evolve. I cannot achieve what I want and live with passion without the grace of another. I fully trust in this truth now.

"...Your time is all you really own in life...extravagant possessions can’t match the satisfaction you get from finding new experiences, meeting new people, and learning new things about yourself...the best experiences in life can be had for the price of showing up."

-ROLF POTTS

I appreciate the fact that Amanda, Kieley, and I have to find our own jobs. It hasn't been easy, but it's been invigorating. I've spoken to so many employers (even employers who can't take me on) who are eager to talk about how they love what they do, and how it's important for everyone to find what they love to do and live it. I've learned so much already due to both the voting process and the job search. Self-promotion, optimal information search, and negotiation are valuable skills that we all need to learn. I won't even talk about the ability to possess both confidence and humility. These are great traits to cultivate as well.

As for the "jobs” search, I wanted to be flexible and cater to some of my own skills and interests at the same time. I wanted to travel so I could really force creativity, independence, and awareness. I contacted friends, favorite companies, and sites whose visions aligned with that of the One-Week Job Project as a way to find employers. I also had a desire to do jobs that most people had never heard of, but that search hasn't really been fruitful.

Now when I use the word “flexible,” I mean I searched for occupations that I would never EVER!!! do on a normal day. I won't give it away – you'll see. I always think that it is vital we become exposed to much, to learn and become much, so I must, as they say, “go out of my comfort zone.” Being a participant of the One-Week Job Program demands personal growth, so I'll do all that I can to make that happen. The time is now, otherwise there will never be at time. I know you know what I am talking about!

I expect nothing from this adventure, but I have goals. During the course of each of my eight jobs, I aim to learn loads about myself, others, and what attracts different people to different occupations. I want to gain an appreciation and understanding for the words “work,” “job,” and “career.” People have different definitions for these words. Some people use these words readily, and some people do not. What differentiates these types of people ? I want to find out.

I won't be afraid, but I'll be aware, smart-minded. I won't be too concerned with “finding what I want to do in life” or what I'm going to do after the Program is over. That really isn't how I view the Program's purpose, and I have a suspicion that life cannot be that simple. If it is, it's not that simple for me. I don't think the meaning of life can ever really be found, but the path to it can be. What is simple for me is that I'm in this for the new experiences and new people.

I'm in this to test all the things we're raised to believe. I want to find out for myself what is true and what is not true, what is good and what is not good. I'm in this to come into my own more. If anything, the only thing I think about my future is that I want to continue being exposed to novelty, and keep making mistakes, keep becoming less perfect while doing so. I want to keep learning because it's fun and fueling. I'm in this Program to stay alive, not just to exist. I'm in this. Wherever I am, there I am. Yes, yes, yes.

Okay, so what about You? Well, I consider you my friend, even if I have never met you. Whenever I do something, you are doing it with me. “i means You.” I'm writing for You really, not me. In subsequent blog posts, I hope to exhibit personal growth to you, and I hope to make you think about your own life (and maybe laugh?) through different methods – my personal musings, randomness, reference links, dancing, etc.

I'll be talking about the jobs, of course, but the implications of my involvement in them will transcend the environment I'm in at the time. I want to hear what you have to say. Feel free to respond to/discuss with/question me and others through my blog, be your thoughts negative or positive. If you need it, I hope to give you hope. This journey is about me, but it is also about You. What You do, what You love, what You want. We need each other, so let us be there for each other.

So if you have time, follow me, share with me, help me. I need You. I don't know what the heck I'm doing, but I'm doing it anyway. I think this is more than fine...wonderful even...and I'm just going to assume you agree. Thank You so much for that.

-M

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