As I previously mentioned, last week I was invited to speak at the University of Calgary. The faculty I'm a graduate of, the Haskayne School of Business (fancy) has a variety of student clubs that I was not involved with in any way when I was a student, so the irony of this rang pretty loudly for my friend Frank.
These student clubs do, if memory serves, all kinds of fun and valuable things, like organize golf tournaments and networking events and midterm study guides, et cetera. The Marketing Club also organizes an Industry night every semester or so and invites people working in Marketing to come speak to students about their careers.
My career is a DOOZY.
I was really thrilled to be asked. Everyone loves to talk about themselves, and I especially like to talk about myself in front of a captive audience. My career path after graduation has been a bumpy, windy, goat path of a road, distinctly contrasting with those of my uber-successful classmates who have great jobs in Oil and Gas, Finance, and Marketing Research with big, well-respected companies.
I spend hours debating whether or not to send the newspaper images from our feature exhibit about the Nude with nipples in them.
I don't make a ton of money, I don't negotiate on a golf course, I've been laid off (more than once) and I've job-hopped a fair share. Why should I feel like I have anything to offer to a group of students?
Well, I love my job. I LOVE my career, even though a lot of the time it makes me physically want to hurt myself. In the past four years, I've gotten bruises from banging my forehead against my desk. I've cried in the bathroom. I've ran out of money long before payday and subsided on canned mystery foods I find in the cupboard. (Peaches or kidney beans? Surprise Dinner Yay!) I've fought with artists, I've fought with designers, I've fought with executive directors and CEOs.
But I still love what I do. I've made massive, messy, colossal mistakes- for example, did you know that if you load 5000 snowglobes on a truck in December and ship them to Edmonton, you should probably spring for the heated truck, even if your budget doesn't allow, because it's often -40 in Edmonton in December and snow globes explode when they freeze.
I've learned that you should not, under any circumstance, touch sacred Blackfoot objects while menstruating.
I've learned that googling 'bestiality support groups' in a lot of jobs would get you fired, but likely not mine.
I've learned, from all this crazy, how to make calm decisions and solve problems under conditions that may include screaming and yelling and throwing of filing cabinets. I've also learned that I'm quite good at it.
I shared all of these anectodes, and a few more, with the students last week. 10 minutes in front of 60 students is nerveracking, but I've never been afraid of public speaking.
And after my presentation, I was mobbed by students who told me that they didn't believe they could actually make a living doing something that they loved. That they didn't know jobs like mine existed. That no one had ever told them that it was okay to fail.
Trying to figure out what you're going to do with your life is hard. If listening to my blathering for 10 minutes helped anyone, even a little - I'd be thrilled. But selfishly- it turns out that this was so important to me because it helped me realize that it's okay to do what I love. To have left it and come back to it and taken risks and made mistakes.
And hey. I get paid to talk about nipples.