How Taking Three Risks Landed Me a Job

Sometimes the more you fail, the better you get at taking the right risks.  NY Creative Interns Meetup #2: The Failure Method: Why Taking Risks is Important to Being Successful is tomorrow night and we can’t wait to hear what Amber Rae, Jason Boog, Wendy Wecksell and Dave Brown have to say about why it’s important to take risks once in a while.  I can definitely attest that without taking risks, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I credit my success in snagging a job (an almost impossible feat for all the entry-seeking college graduates) to three decisions I made last summer:

1. Moving to New York City after graduation despite not having a job, and no real plans other than to NOT go home after graduation.

My current roommates and I literally spent the last weekend of May trying to find an affordable apartment in a decent area, apply as fast as possible, and move in before the 31st.  No, we do not live in the nicest of areas in Brooklyn, and yes, we have had our fair share of “fun” experiences with the G train, but for having little money and time, we lucked out.  I used free Wi-Fi at The Bagel Store to apply for jobs and lived off of apples and oatmeal.

2. Realizing that working at a cafe is not going to pay the rent and deciding to search for paid internships at 1 am on Craigslist.

I KNOW – you must be extra careful about applying to anything on Craigslist.  It got to a point where I was not making very much money working at a cafe and frankly, felt disappointed in myself for not having a job after years of internships and hard work.  I thought “Forget this, I have more than enough experience.  I can definitely get a paid internship.”  It was perfect timing – one of the internships I applied to was at 360i, where I currently work as a Social Marketing Coordinator.  I received an email a few hours later, went in to interview, and started the following week.

3. Even though my internship was at the ideal agency, I knew it was important to keep looking and applying for other full time jobs.

I talked this over with multiple people about whether it was ethical to apply for jobs when I was barely at 360i for two months.  However – you never know what opportunity may come your way, and as Emily always says, interviews can lead to more networking.  I was leaving work early to go in for one interview and  let my supervisor know what was up.  Because I gave it my all as an intern and made myself valuable to the agency, by the end of the week I had a job offer and over six months later, I couldn’t be happier for taking that risk.

There are no free tickets when it comes to being successful.  It doesn’t really matter where you intern, who you know, and what school you went to.  What it boils down to is this – all experience is meant to teach you is knowing which risks are worth taking and trusting your gut- while having good timing.

A version of this entry was published in August 2010 on My Name is Reb.


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About the Author

Reb Carlson has over ten years' experience in marketing while working at top agencies (360i, MKG, Wunderman Thompson, and Razorfish), tech companies (Sprinklr) and startups (Master & Dynamic). Based in Brooklyn, she recently started her own marketing consultancy called Mad Focused, a practice focused on helping working creatives and their businesses thrive.

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