Written by Catalina Berry, Community Impact Director at the American Heart Association
As our community and our world mark one year since the beginning of the pandemic, we wanted to take a moment to reflect and recognize the hard work, perseverance, and resilience of our members, small businesses, and organizations. Facing insurmountable obstacles, we found new ways to adapt, support each other, and redefine success. These are our stories.
A year ago, my decision to be an independent contractor and consultant was finally starting to take flight and I was starting to get more projects. Then, the pandemic hit. So all of the events that I was going to be working on were postponed and then quickly cancelled. I knew about a month into the pandemic that I would need to find another option that was more sustainable. Thus, I began the job application process and then came the “no thank you” emails. My new full-time job was to search for jobs, write cover letters and build thick skin as the “no thank yous” came in.
Ultimately, I had to make sure I gave my best in my applications and interviews, and remind myself that giving my best is all I can do. The rest is out of my control and what is meant for me will be. Don’t get me wrong- there were moments where this was easier said than done. There were also moments where I would see/ have job opportunities but see that my morals and values did not align with the company/ organization’s. I had to remind myself that my sanity and values are important and to have patience and faith that the right opportunity would come.
And sure enough the most amazing opportunity came and I was given the opportunity to work for the American Heart Association. I had been a volunteer and a huge fan of the organization for over a decade so I knew my values aligned with them. Every day I am grateful for the opportunity to not only have a job but to have one has amazing as the one I have.
Lessons Learned and Advice:
- Always give your best because even if they say no, you know that you did what you could and that is all you can really do.
- Make sure you know your values and make sure they align with the company/ organization you are applying for. If they do not align, it will be hard to say “no” but it is the best thing for both parties involved.
- Surround yourself (even if it is virtually) with cheerleaders. There will be moments where the “no thank yous” can bring you down and this is where those people will help pick you up.
- Let people know you are searching. I am so fortunate to have amazing mentors that would send me job opportunities regularly. This also helped as a reminder that if these amazing people believed in me, I should too.
- Volunteer! This not only makes you feel good, it allows you to meet people that know of job opportunities or, like in my case, even allows you to find your next job!
- Join boards or committees- similar to volunteering, this allows you to meet great people and also allows you to keep practicing your skills. I know my involvement with the Austin Young Chamber has introduced me to great people that shared job opportunities with me and even became my cheerleaders.
- Take care of your mental health. Be confident, do not settle and know the right job will come.
- Lastly, never forget – YOU ARE AMAZING!
“I had to remind myself that my sanity and values are important and to have patience and faith that the right opportunity would come. And sure enough the most amazing opportunity came and I was given the opportunity to work for the American Heart Association.”
“Let people know you are searching. I am so fortunate to have amazing mentors that would send me job opportunities regularly. This also helped as a reminder that if these amazing people believed in me, I should too.”