What to Say on a Career Panel When You Don’t Even Have a Job

I originally wrote this blog post for my own personal blog. However, I do feel some of the stories and wisdom found within here are important in defining my sacred dance journey. And perhaps you may find these little nuggets of wisdom helpful too!


Impossible? It seemed so, but that was my point! I wanted to tell others that even when things seem impossible, they are most definitely possible!

Early in the year, my alma mater was looking for Business and Communications professionals to speak on a panel regarding post-grad transitions. At that time, I did not have a job (I was “working” but more on that later). However, I did have a story. And while what I did made this story interesting enough, it was what I learned and continue to learn that made this story worth sharing.

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Be open and ready to follow your Plan B your childhood dreams.

When I adopted my more rational Plan B as my new Plan A, I never imagined that my new Plan A would fall apart. So when it did, I decided to be honest with myself. My advisor asked my what I really wanted to do after graduating, and I said I wanted live in a different city in a different country, relax in a tropical beach paradise, and get paid to perform. At that moment, it seemed silly, but in retrospect, I got EXACTLY what I wanted. Instead of applying to jobs, I went on auditions – something I never got to do because of school. I went for fun, and I had lots of fun. But then I wanted to book a job, and not just any job, but this one job. And I did. I booked a job dancing for Disney Cruise Line! I lived in Toronto, Canada for rehearsals then cruised in the Bahamas for six months, where my main job was to perform and make magic. Not only did I get exactly what I wanted, but I ended up working for the very company that I had admired and loved ever since I was a child, a company who inspired me to major in business so I could one day own a performing arts and entertainment company just like that. Talk about full circle. Childhood dreams don’t expire, they inspire and can lead to some of the most fulfilling adulthood experiences.

Work hard. Hustle.

This is self-explanatory. But I would like to add this next piece of advice …

Never question your abilities or your path. You are exactly where you need to be.

The thing about working hard is that we always believe it produces the results we want. But what about those times when we did our best, but our best wasn’t enough? Does that invalidate all our efforts? Should we never work hard again? No. After completing my internship senior year, I thought I was on my way to full-time hire. However, things didn’t work out. I thought I didn’t work hard enough and began thinking back on what I could’ve done to make the college-to-work-life transition easier. But now, I realized I wasn’t meant to have that job because if I did, then Disney wouldn’t have been in the picture. Could I have been mediocre with the internship then? I could have, but then I would never have had an understanding of my self-worth and abilities. While they in no way can fully guarantee your successes, this awareness and self-valuation can help you overcome your setbacks and even your failures, giving you the push you need to move forward and see the opportunities all around you.

Rest if you need it (but only with unconditional support).

Now this is a most interesting part of my story. After graduation and before Disney, I did nothing. Almost literally nothing. And after Disney, I almost literally did nothing. I did a lot of volunteering, but to some people’s standards that sort of hard work will never amount to a job or a means to support yourself … However, my parents were all for it, even stopping me from working too hard so I could rest and recover and get ready to follow my dreams. When I admitted this on the panel, I was met with a lot of backlash. And while I see their point, I also knew why I took a break. I had been an overachiever all my life. I knew what burning out meant before I started high school (and to be honest, most kids these days know, too). For my sanity’s sake, it was necessary for me to rest and recover. And I knew I could always pick up where I left off and start again. I knew my worth as a hard worker, but I also knew the value in rest. And I knew too that wherever I was led to afterwards, I was meant to be there. Above Plan A, Plan B, or C is God’s plan. Everything happens for a reason.

And if you ever find yourself on your mother’s couch, don’t stay on that couch! Learn to run that household!

This was just a jab at those who disagreed with my break. I stayed at home, but I ran that home. I learned what it was like to be a stay-at-home mom. It’s tough, it’s difficult, and you can’t understand why anyone would undermine such hard work because it is hard work (and I only did a fraction of the work!). I don’t take it for granted anymore. Because through this work, my mother was able to raise me, allowing me to follow my dreams, encouraging me to rest when I needed to, and letting me know my own value. Sometimes I would lose sight of what it meant to be home, but now as I start my new job and see that everything I learned from running a household has made me both efficient and economical in this position as well as refreshed and ready to follow my own dreams, I can see why.

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