Life is all about choices. We make small choices every day and usually don't think twice about them. What to have for lunch, should I have another cup of coffee (not that this is really a choice, seeing as the answer is always a resounding yes), what should I do when I get home from work. All simple decisions that carry little weight in the grand scheme of things. However, sometimes our decisions are bigger, especially when they come to our career.
One of the most important lessons I have learned when it comes to decisions about your career has nothing to do with actually making the decision but rather how you move forward once you have made it. Lean into your decision and give it your best. This starts as early on as choosing your major in college. You're young; you don't necessarily know what you want to do with your life, but, by the end of your sophomore year, you're made a major choice. When I decided to major in Sport and Event Management, I had no idea what I wanted to do after graduation, but I knew that I needed to give my classes my all and create the best future opportunities for myself, regardless of what I thought I wanted those to be.
When I applied for my job at NCRPA, I gave the interviews my all. I got insight from my current supervisor and mentor about the organization, studied everything I could on NCRPA's website, and practiced answering all of the classic interview questions I could think of. Deciding to take this job and move to Raleigh was easy. Once I got to Raleigh, I put my all into my job from Day 1. I was a brand new young professional, and I was eager to learn as much as I could and make the most out of the opportunity at hand. The NCRPA Fellow is designed as a one or two year position for a young professional to help them grow and develop a variety of essential professional skills and experiences. This meant that I had a set amount of time before I would have to make yet another big career decision.
Two years flew by and suddenly it was decision time. Time to decide what type of job I wanted to pursue next, where to apply, where I saw myself 5-10 years in future. As I was applying for jobs, I heard from a professor at Elon, my alma mater, regarding an opportunity for a job that was outside of the parks and recreation or non-profit field, where I had envisioned myself continuing my career. I decided to apply, and after going through the interview process, I was offered the position. Suddenly, I had a major decision to make. Thankfully, I have an amazing support team of friends, family, peers and mentors to discuss my choice with plus a propensity for wanting to know as much information as possible (hello, pro/con list). Ultimately, the decision was mine to make, and I knew that I no matter what I decided I needed to move forward with that decision with confidence.
I decided to accept the offer, and I will begin my new position in just a couple of weeks. Am I 100% confident in my decision, maybe not - decisions this big are scary, but that isn't going to stop me from taking all my of lessons and experiences that I have gained in my past two years and giving my new job my absolute best. Anything less would be a disservice to my new employer, NCRPA, and, most importantly, myself - and doing that was never a choice.
Meet the Author
Nicole joined NCRPA in 2016, relocating from Atlanta, GA. She graduated from Elon University with a Bachelor’s degree in Sport and Event Management, with Minors in Business Administration and Psychology. She has previously worked for Graham Recreation and Parks as an Athletics Intern during her time at Elon, and she interned for the Burlington Royals Minor League Baseball team in summer 2015. In her free time, Nicole volunteers with the SPCA of Wake County, is involved with the Triangle Civitan Club, and keeps the local Bruegger’s Bagels in business (one everything bagel and iced coffee please!).
If you are interested in being a guest author for the YPN Blog, please contact Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-832-5868.