When I was a teenager I was afraid of a lot of things; busy roads, public speaking, raising my hand in class, horses, looking silly in front of a group of people, and most of all change. There came a moment for me after I had walked across the stage at my college graduation, when I realized that no one is going to tell me what to do next and that was up to me to make the life I wanted. You are the only person in control of your destiny, no one else is going to do the work for you.
Over the past few months that I have been working at Kirvin Doak I have experienced things that I never would have back home and learned a tremendous amount about the industry that I cannot be more thankful for. I am in no position to preach but I do want to pass along some advice that for me that helped me to be successful.
Do What Scares You the Most
I have always preferred books, pets and video games to people (they don’t talk back to you). When I graduated from high school I realized that to be successful you must talk and be able to connect with people. I pushed myself to start waitressing and worked part time jobs that relied heavily on communication to improve my lack of skill. The first few shifts were complete disasters, but with time I have developed people skills that have carried over into every job I’ve taken since. Communication is so important and it’s a skill that can’t be replaced by technology. Computers can generate codes for just about anything but only humans can generate genuine connections.
When I graduated from college I had promised myself after looking at my student loan debt that I would do anything in my power to use this degree. I left my hometown and the only home I’ve ever known, Buffalo, NY (GO BILLS!), bought a one-way ticket to Las Vegas, a city I had never visited before. Two weeks later I arrived with just a backpack and a suitcase. Leaving my family and friends was one of the hardest things I had to do, but it all paid off in the end. A week after I arrived I started my dream job at KDC working with clients and brands that I loved.
Be Prepared for Anything
Honestly, anything. In public relations everything can change in a moment and it is our job to be there ready with a solution. Additionally, a PR professional must always expect the unexpected and be prepared to respond accordingly. During my first month at Kirvin Doak I learned this first hand. On Halloween I came to work dressed as Wednesday Addams from Addams Family because we were having a costume party and most people were dressing up. Halfway through the day our team receives an email that a client would like to have a meeting later that day. This is my first client meeting ever. And I had to go dressed as Wednesday Addams. Lesson was learned to always have a backup outfit because you never know where you’ll have to be or who you’re going to see.
Have a Mantra
This one seems silly, but when I’m having a tough day or really missing the icy cold tundra of Western New York I remind myself of the reasons I came out here. My favorite is “if it’s so easy, is truly worth doing?” Moving out of my mom’s house, leaving anything I’ve ever known and moving across the country was one of the hardest things I have done so far in my life, but if this experience was easy would it be worth it? Would I have grown from it? Probably not.
To any college graduate considering taking a leap of faith, don’t let your fears steer your path. Fear exists to push you to become something better than you were before. Take risks, and if you fail, learn from your mistakes. Failures make the victories down the line even sweeter. Be prepared for anything and everything, all the time, it’s part of the job. And have some words to live by to get you through the hard times. Change is scary and it’s something that still isn’t easy for me. But with everything that’s scary about my new world is balanced by something amazing that I would never had experienced at home. When people ask me why I choose Vegas I tell them “Go big or go home” and I can assure you, I’m not going home anytime soon.