A week ago, I found myself walking across a local high school campus during school hours. Through an interesting set of circumstances, I was asked to represent the fashion industry on a small panel in a breakout session for high school seniors.
It was an interesting experience as I really wanted to be an encouraging word to them, but then I quickly realized how far removed I was from those students. It was really surreal, like I had to relate how I had achieved something they could relate to before they were interested in listening to my advice. I had a portfolio of my work at my feet the entire time, and didn’t manage to pull it out. I was there to encourage them, but interestingly, I left with a sense of encouragement for myself.
Here’s the main things I was saying to them, and yet also to myself at the same time.
- Everyone starts with less glamorous jobs, work hard in them, learn things, and you’ll be surprised in the future how much that job enabled you to grow into more exciting work.
- Connect with people. Ask for help. Ask about their work. Learn what you can from others.
- Be creative outside of “work.” Whatever that looks like for you–don’t stop doing it!
- Everyone’s dream job looks different. Don’t try to fit into the mold that you think you should, but instead embrace the things that work for you. One person on the panel works two jobs-education and in the evenings and summers works in beauty. It is totally unconventional, but she loves it, and most importantly it works for her. Likewise, I love the flexibility that is in my current schedule allowing me to be home most of the time and still work a little bit too.