As long as I can remember I’ve always had a plan: Go to college, become a successful journalist and live out my days in a swaying hammock under a palm tree—or something like that.
In college, we were given two options: Plan or fail. We incessantly planned our stories, our cover letter structure, our internships and our futures. But the funny thing about plans is they tend to rewrite themselves. Six months and countless job applications after graduation, my grand plan became stagnant. Uncertainty led me to question everything. Did I pick the wrong field? I wondered.
Amid the hopelessness, a friend had a chance encounter with the new editor in chief of SUCCESS, who just so happened to be hiring. Three weeks and two interviews later, I left my home, family and friends for a 400-mile journey south. My new boss never even saw my painstakingly structured cover letter.
The first day of my adult life was a blur. No one told me how long to sit at this desk or when to take lunch. And I still haven’t received a syllabus. I have story deadlines, but no weekly reminders. In the real world—so often discussed in the security of classrooms—you are your own boss in many ways. You have to hold yourself accountable instead of relying on someone else. I’m treading new water.
But I learned there is excitement in uncertainty—an adrenaline boost that drives off complacency and invites creativity (and yes, some anxiety). I’ve found a sort of rhythm. My week is planned, but I learn to take the inevitable challenges in stride: Don’t take story edits personally, don’t be the last one to the lunchroom or you’ll lose your spot in one of the best booths, and perhaps most important, don’t be afraid to take a chance on a crazy idea—like picking up and moving across the country by yourself.
My plan: See what tomorrow holds. What’s yours?
This article appears in the May 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.