How was your holiday? Mine was good. I took a lot of time to slow down, simmer, and spend time working on the parts of running a company that I love. Last week, that was an all-new website for Three Ears Media
. Check it out, let me know what you think.
Working on the website just a few months before the third anniversary of launching this company is a bit sentimental, like going through an old yearbook. As I built new pages and created graphics, I kept thinking back to the job and the conversation that changed it all, but almost didn’t.
I was working in my first job out of college. I worked at a for-profit education center in a strip mall. The office was between a Christian book store and a music store that offered lessons. I remember the lessons well. To this day, I cringe when I see a kid with a trumpet.
I describe that to explain how not glamorous this job was. I guess it was a “good job” because I learned many aspects of running a business. It was not a good job because they paid under market rate, the benefits were awful, and I commuted over an hour with no traffic in Washington D.C. If you’ve ever lived in the metro, you know that traffic is a special hell.
It was still worth it to me because, after all the bullshit, I got to teach. While other managers would hide in the office when the kids showed up, I stood at the front door. Their light bulb moments were enough to make every minute of cold-calling and awkward lead generation events worth it. I taught a lot of kids - about 200 a week - but I had a favorite. Let’s face it. We all have favorites—even parents. Don’t lie.
My favorite? A little girl named Hope. Hope was four and wanted to learn how to read. She was my first student every Saturday morning. This kid was genuinely funny, earnest, and had the biggest heart.
A few weeks into her reading program, Hope’s Dad came in wearing a suit. On a Saturday morning, no less. As I walked through the sales program, I watched his face. The more I spoke, the more his face contorted. I had no idea how to handle this. Awkward moments 101 wasn’t covered in the training curriculum.
The next word out of my mouth? “What?” He laughed. Then he said, “I want to hire you.”
Now I was the one with the questioning glares. “Come to this office on your next day off.” As he slid the card across the desk, I didn’t know how to react. My entire job search up to this point consisted of searching “marketing” on job boards. This seemed sketchy.
A few days later, I was still staring at this business card. I remember all the doubts swirling in my head. This man does not even know me. I don’t know what I would do. I’m not good at anything. I almost talked myself out of going to the office altogether.
I found myself pulling into a spot in the garage anyway. I was wearing this awful pink shirt and a full suit carrying my resume in a leather portfolio only to walk into an office where everyone was wearing jeans and wanted to kill the resume.
Yes, this company was on a mission to kill the resume and I had 6 copies. You think I’m kidding.
Somehow, after a few hours of talking to the team, they offered me a job. To this day, it’s the best job I’ve ever had, besides the one I have now, of course.
The job changed my path and my life all because I was willing to fight my self-doubt. As I go into my mid-30’s, I’m learning that what if… I can't… I’m not… are some of the most dangerous lines in the world because they usually come from the only person we listen to - ourselves.
I know as a job seeker, the sheer volume of self-doubt increases tenfold. You’re on the line. Vulnerable. At the bottom of the decision-making list. From my POV, that all starts when we’re reading the job posting.
How many of you have talked yourself out of applying because you weren’t 100% qualified? Yeah, me too. Then I found out how most people write job postings and I got pissed off.
That’s why I wrote this week’s blog. We talk a lot about being brave in this letter, which goes for job applications. Stop talking yourself out of what could be your next best job. Apply anyway.
I believe in you, and I hope you believe in yourself too. Now, read that post and march into the application process with all the confidence in the world. Your next best job is out there.
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