I was a new college grad ready to take on the world! I had packed up my car and was ready to make the 24 hour drive from Darlington, WI to Santa Rosa, CA. It was finally my time to show off what I had learned throughout college. I was getting into the wine industry which, at the time, I thought was going to be extremely glamorous with plenty of dinner parties and fancy venues. Believe it or not, it is nothing like that!
So I had finally gotten to California. It had always been a dream of mine since I was young and I was finally ready to chase it! After the long journey out here I was ready for my first day of work. I was going to be setting up an in-house marketing program, which I knew would be a ton of work, but I was excited. I had gotten a couple weeks into the journey and realized how little I had at my disposal. Everything I was doing was on free platforms and I had virtually no budget to work with. The Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages were all set up for the business and postings were taking place 3x per week on each. We were finally starting to get some recognition when I was called into my bosses office.
She was a very bitter Italian woman who, from the get go, I knew would be very difficult to work with, but I was willing to give it a shot. I walked in to the office half afraid due to some of the previous comments she had made to other employees. I was in the process of attempting to get approval for a marketing piece I was going to put out in a major publication. With a half-hearted smile on my face I asked “what do you think?” Her response was no less than crushing. “What is this?!” She said. I was caught off guard, but I responded with “that’s the proof I have for you to approve for the magazine.” This lead to a drawn out conversation which included being told that I wasn’t worth the investment they were making in me. I argued back because it had only been a couple weeks, I had received no formal training, and was just attempting to feel my way around. I’m not sure if you have ever tried to argue with an Italian person, but if you haven’t I would highly suggest you keep it that way. As I was sitting there taking the tongue lashing of a lifetime there was one comment made that resonated with me. She called me “an overpaid intern.” Now I was in no way, shape, or form making a healthy living, and as a vulnerable new college grad over 2,000 miles from home that stung pretty bad.
I had two choices. 1) I stick it out and hope things get better or 2) I quit, pack up my car, and begin the drive back to Wisconsin. I chose to go with option 1 and tough it out. The job ended up not working out for me, but I did learn some very valuable lessons from it.
1) Do not take words to heart – so many people in this world are angry. Whether it’s because of you or not you will eventually take the brunt of it.
2) Stay above the negativity – even when it seems impossible to do it, take the high road. Your future self will thank you for it. Good things eventually come along for good people.
3) Own your identity – if she wants to call me an overpaid intern, then I’m going to be the best damn overpaid intern that has ever lived! Those words have become my driving force to find success in this life. I will not be defined by one person’s words. Instead, I will use those words to push me towards my goals.