Last night I went to a Professional Women’s Conference put on by an organization in town. My date (a close girlfriend) got caught up at work and was unable to make it. I sat in deliberation about whether or not to go alone. It’s kind of scary to step into a room full of people you don’t know and then…literally promote yourself to network.
I convinced myself there was free food and drinks and I’d regret not going if I stayed home – and then assured myself I’d be rewarded with a nice long bubble bath afterwards. So I went. There were women from all kinds of businesses – magazines, women in local politics, my pre-cana counselor was there, accounting, engineers. It was cool to see women in their careers making a name for themselves. I was easily the youngest person in the room. And having just had a minor mental breakdown about where my professional life was headed, I found myself explaining my fertility passion to Frankie Wilmer, who ran for congress and is a huge women’s rights activist.
Yea, I felt green and inexperienced and half as adept as any other female in the room. But it was rewarding to see that I have a whole professional life ahead of me and I don’t have to figure it all out today.
I moved to Montana to fulfill my dream of being a filmmaker when I signed up for film school. It all started when I visited LA in 5th grade to see my sister’s high school marching band play in the Rose Bowl Parade. I was sold on the film business. (It was that damn Universal Studios, they made it look like so much fun.) Nearly 3 years post move and almost a diploma later (I still have one more semester.) my passions have shifted slightly.
For starters, it isn’t film per say I want to be in. Not necessarily about making movies – but rather promotions. I love my job in the promotions department with PBS. With my freelance company, I’ve had the privilege of making marketing spots for small businesses that are really admirable. I enjoy combining my film skills with advertising skills. I love the freelance work I do for an R&D firm, it’s fascinating to see what goes into product research, which actually helps me in my other business ventures. I absolutely adored working for Kindara, Will and Katie were so hard working and inspiring. (Anyone remember this promo? Fun memories.) Working with a startup company allowed me to see how difficult it really is to get a business off the ground. (And I’ve been keeping my eye on them – seems that they are doing well. Their new website is b-e-a-utiful.)
If we rewind a few days, I was in shambles, wondering if I’d ever get a chance to use my film diploma and my passion for fertility in one setting. I thought “I’m freaking crazy. Fertility has no money in it, pharma is too big – and you know you’re not a health MD. If you think you want to go in fertility, try going to med school first, Cass.” I felt like a sham. Useless and green.
But then I thought about all the things in my professional life that have lined up just right, at just the right time. (Have I ever told you about how I got my job at PBS?? I was decked out in Montana State gear from the bookstore because my luggage hadn’t made it. A spot had opened up earlier that morning and my now boss bluntly said “There’s a spot. If you want it, it’s yours.) It can’t possibly be a coincidence. I’m being taken care of, I just need to keep pedaling. (A common metaphor I use for God in my life – the tandem bike one. He’ll take care of the steering, but I still have to work for it.)
Welcome to being 23 in 2013, I guess. I used to tell my dad when I first got to college that I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. My dad would reply, “I’m 50 years old and don’t know what I want to do with my life.”
So all in all – you don’t have to figure it all out at once. I know what I like and I know what I’m passionate about. I like supporting businesses that support women. It’s pretty simple. If you throw in fertility or lingerie, or alternative menstrual products, I’m even more intrigued. And even though America may frame it to you this way – you don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company to be successful. In my eyes, if you’re coming out in the green (hopefully most) months, you’re doing alright.
So that’s pretty much my sound off about being a professional twenty something. It’s tough, but it’s also a journey. And it’s ok to feel aimless sometimes. But whatever you do, don’t stop pedaling.