I cannot remember the day, but I can remember the moment. I was a senior in college, it was sometime in the Spring of 1997 and I was trying to figure out what in the world I was going to do with a History degree and find a job that paid me to use my education. There was a tension in my head, did I try and find a legitimate job, did I travel the world? Did I go do something totally different? Did I choose to pursue my passion?
In the world of very slow dial up internet connections through AOL I procured an application to be a snow reporter and marketing intern at Big Sky Ski Resort in Montana. This job was 30 hours per week and you had to be up at the crack of dawn to post the ski report on the voicemail and maybe the internet for the resort. I figured this would be the perfect post college job to be able to live somewhere new, and get to ski for free at a world class resort. I was all set to apply, and then, some weird guilt set in. This weird guilt told me that I should be more responsible and find a job that would make my parents feel good about supporting my college education. This was not my parents talking, this was my own inner dialogue that was moving me in a direction.
I never did follow through on applying for that snow reporter job. Every time I read the snow report at a ski resort there is a wistful feeling that comes over me and I think, what did I miss? I think I might have missed a pretty fun adventure post-college. What did I end up doing? I landscaped the summer away and then got a temporary job at Prudential insurance processing claims. Wow if that sounded exciting it wasn’t! In a group of 500+ in tiny cubicles? Not a lot of fun.
Fast forward 7 months later – I decided to take a risk and move out to Washington, DC as an intern for a US Senator. I jumped this time and and did not hesitate to pursue my dream of working in Washington, DC for the government. What a great excuse to live in the best city in the world for a few years. I get to go back to DC now for work and love to walk around the monuments at night. I well up with pride when I walk past my former office in the Dirksen Senate Office building and think, I had the privilege of working there.
What was the difference between pursuing my passion and just settling? A huge difference. DC was not my end point, but along the journey it was something I could cross off my list. I had a wonderful few years there living and working at the heart of our government. It was light years ahead of being trapped in a cubicle doing something I was not passionate about or wired to do.
Get out there and pursue your dream. Do it today. Do it in your spare time, find your calling, live your passion – trust me it is so worth it.