"Tell Me About Yourself"
This Spring, I joined COOP ("koh-op"), a digital marketing boot camp where you spend 200+ hours learning the three H’s:
I honestly don’t know where I would be without COOP. It gave me the empowerment, structure, and tools to transition into the real world.
And right alongside you are all these cool people who are trying to get somewhere. We’re all trying to make it and we’re hustling to make it happen.
With COOP, it meant knowing that as we sat together in these workshops after work and/or school, we were always rooting for each other.
Unless you’re against capitalism or something, working is usually part of the life plan.
All the dreams and aspirations I have are reliant on, and include, having a career that I will succeed in. So, of course, all the dark thoughts you have during the job search crawls into your periphery like a fat spider in the corner of your ceiling.
I thought that If I didn’t get a job, I would be nothing.
Obviously, that’s not true. My value isn’t determined by my employment status. But my fulfillment comes from having to learn and figure things out on my own.
The job search process will eat you up and force you to tumble into its multi-layered digestive system, where you’ll question everything about yourself while trying to show off your best self for the gatekeepers of the position you want.
All the complexities and the experiences you’ve had until this day, you gotta ball it up into a snack-sized morsel ready to disperse when given the question, “So tell me about yourself.”
The process to get a fulltime job is filled with uncertainty. And confusion too. All these openings, but yet, no responses on any of your applications.
You really start questioning whether you’re truly good enough for any position that’s out there.
Late May, I interviewed with a company that I felt would be perfect.
I was two days from graduating when I went in for the final round interview.
And I did what Steve Jobs did when he was selling us the iPhones in that ugly black turtleneck.
I visualized it. I visualized having the job. I saw myself succeeding, and saw that this me in the future was exactly what I wanted to be.
A few days later, I got an email to schedule a call after the three day weekend. I start asking my friends about negotiating salary and what tips they have. I was going to make Donald Trump shook with my negotiation skills.
After the weekend during the day of the call, I printed up negotiation points that included average salary data of the position I would surely be offered. It was on Times New Roman, 12-point font, single-spaced. The salary numbers were bolded.
I didn’t get it. I just didn't have enough experience.
I scheduled a call to get rejected. Oh my god. I face planted on my bed and said “Fuck” for a good minute or two into my freshly cleaned sheets.
I played myself. I really did. I fucked up because I put all my organic eggs in one digital marketing basket with an expectation that I would get to create this perfect omelet when the recipe didn’t even call for eggs.
The worst part was that I had this gut feeling that I would clinch an offer. Maybe it was a lesson that I shouldn’t trust a gut that’s filled with milk tea and banh mis.
But at some point, getting rejected was just funny.
COOP tells you to trust the process.
You have to trust that this is all part of the plan, even when all you want to say is “Fuck the process.”
You get to have your meltdown, but afterward, you sit your ass back in your rolly chair and keep applying. You keep with the process because, at some point, the pendulum from the law of averages is bound to swing in your favor.
So I kept applying. I walked the stage at the AT&T stadium. I went to COOP and busted my ass with our client project. I partied in the networking events. I went on phone screenings, video calls, and interviews.
And at some point, I accepted an offer from a firm that I wouldn’t have known about without COOP.
I felt validated; like this was all part of the plan.
The hours talking to myself trying to perfect the best way to answer “Tell me about yourself.” The backspaces, formatting and tabbing used to master the resume. The endless application submissions sent to a dark, joyless hole.
All the time, effort, and mistakes I put into the experiences I’ve had… They mattered.
I start tomorrow.
I’m so hungry for this, man.
Partly because of the intermittent fasting, but also because it feels a lot like the day before I left to study abroad in Sweden.
That feeling came before one of the most positively monumental decisions in my 21 years being on this planet.
I’m standing before a crucial transitional part of my life, and I’m about to jump to all these challenges and experiences. Maybe I'm wrong and everything will suck. But at least I'll learn something.
And you know what? Just like when I was in Scandinavia, I’ll land with both feet set on the ground ready to trust the process.
To C33, Rychelle, Matt, Kalani, and my captains.
Thank you guys for everything.