Chart Your Course

By Samantha McKenzie

Make a list of every job you’ve held.

Then post it on your refrigerator for your friends and family to see. If you have children in the home, make sure the list is big enough for them to read as well. If you’re bold enough, post it on your social media page. Make it a thing.

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I attended a conference a while back and one of the speakers had a slide of all of the jobs he’s held. The list included jobs he’s had around the neighborhood, through college and well into adulthood. It included a stint as a factory worker, a professional basketball player, vice chancellor, author, minister, and motivational speaker. He shared his list at speaking events to send a message to young people: Most of us start out with humble beginnings, we can make choices to chart our growth.

Sometimes we see people who are successful and have no idea where they came from. We tend to think that they’ve always been well spoken or well dressed and that maybe life was made easy for them. We don’t usually think that they had to make hard decisions, just like the rest of us. We don’t see their struggle. And unless they tell you, we don’t know about the lessons they’ve learned.

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So unless you were born with privilege, most people have held many, many jobs to get where they are today. Each job I have ever held has taught me something valuable and has made me the type of person I am today.

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My list goes like this…

  1. Babysitter. I learned to be responsible for others.
  2. Hairstylist (braiding). I learned how to be detailed and creative.
  3. Cashier at a five-and-dime store. I learned that time is money and money is time.
  4. Data entry associate. I learned to type at 94 wpm.
  5. Administrative assistant. I learned how to assist others and multitask.
  6. Customer service representative. I learned to listen to people’s needs, no matter how abrasive they may be and provide them with their requests in a polite manner.
  7. Copy editor. I learned to find errors in the written copy, quickly. Very quickly.
  8. Reporter.  I learned how to write on deadline and how to get people to open up and tell their stories.
  9. Teacher. I learned that teaching was a real skill and a reward that shows up years later.
  10. Public Relations coordinator. I learned to take my people skills to another level.
  11. Special Events Manager. I learned to create checklists and more checklists. I learned that Murphy’s Law is true. I learned that I could handle Murphy.
  12. Media Relations director.  I learned that I could speak two languages. I understood the media and I understood the client.
  13. Director of Marketing and Communications. I learned the art of branding and I took my multitasking to another level.
  14. Writer. I learned that writing was still my first love. I learned that I would do it for free, but I won’t.
  15. Future entrepreneur. I am learning about my fears. I am learning that my skills are ready for that next step.

My list helps me paint a picture of all of the places I’ve been in my career and reminds me that there are still more opportunities ahead.

Keep charting your course. Keep building and rebuilding a better you.

I hope to keep adding to this list. I hope to keep growing.

One Comment Add yours

  1. vharris2017 says:

    Thanks for the inspiration Samantha. I completed my list and posted it to our blog.


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