20something profile: Caitlyn
When my last semester of college rolled around, I had two goals: make the last weeks count & graduate with a job. By the time I walked across the stage in May 2012 with my degree in Communications & English, I had applied to 100+ jobs in PR and marketing, located in any city on Earth (if Saturn had entry-level positions, I wouldn’t have been opposed). And was jobless.
I walked out of my graduation ceremony, where our university’s director of media relations found me & asked me to give an interview with a C-SPAN reporter. One of the first questions was what my plans were and in my answer I made sure to mention what fields I was interested in.
My college posted my interview on their Facebook page where an alum saw it, connected with me on LinkedIn and told me about her PR agency’s full-time, unpaid internships, which were the only way they hired at entry-level. I thought that the internship and agency sounded fun, so I applied.
After much agonizing, I turned down a full-time paying job in another city for that internship. I moved to a new city, with the resolve that this internship would work out. I’d saved so much money in college, so I could survive income-less for a few months, and in the meantime, I would wow them with my brilliance, and they’d hire me. Easy peasy.
But, after one week of the internship, I realized I didn’t want them to. Here I was, doing what I had assumed I would love, and I hated every minute of it. What was going on here?! I couldn’t believe I turned down a paying job to be unpaid and miserable. I lied to my mom on the phone every night, telling her how much I loved what I was doing, because I felt like such a moron for botching such a big decision.
I was beyond panicked. I had signed a year-long lease. I was making friends. I loved my new city. I needed an income as soon as the internship finished. The fabulous post-grad life I’d always envisioned had started. I did not want to have to admit defeat and move back home with my parents.
So, I started applying to jobs. Again. I was discouraged by what I was finding, and my panic and stress level grew each day. One day, I saw a posting for a job at a publishing company. Excited, I applied. Some quick research into the company, and I found that the president of my college had written a book with them, so I turned to him and his executive assistant to help me out.
Two nerve-wracking interviews in 10 days later, they offered me the position.
Although the internship sucked for the most part, I learned an incredible amount, not just about the field I was in, but about being a full-time team member, a company’s culture and how to work with different personalities. I wouldn’t be in my current job without it, so I am immensely grateful.
Moving to a new city with no income but a whole lot of blind hope taught me so much. I’m a planner who gets antsy with uncertainty, so it was stressful to not know what was coming up next. It taught me to trust the process and that if you work hard, things will work themselves out. I love my job and all the opportunities for growth here. It is pretty amazing to think about how I took a huge risk and landed exactly where I should be.