By Liz Mosher ’10, CES Peer Advisor
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Man it’d be pretty cool if I could actually speak with that person?”
About a year ago, I was working on a project about generational change in the workforce, a topic that has really tugged at my interests. It was at that point that my eyes first came across the name, Lindsey Pollak.
Lindsey Pollak has become one of the go-to experts for gen-y career topics and now holds many titles, including Global Campus Spokeswoman for LinkedIn. For the past year, I have been more than enthralled with her career advice and books, especially CES’s most popular book: Getting from College to Career.
After speaking with my Career Awareness class instructor, I thought it might be fun to send Lindsey an e-mail expressing my interest in her studies on generational change in the workforce and advice on career development in hopes of landing the informational interview of a lifetime. While I only expected an automatic response sent out by assistants or interns, I was ecstatic to find a message in my inbox from Ms. Pollak herself about setting up a phone interview.
Instead of trying to recap our entire phone conversation, I wanted to share a little bit about how Lindsey and her story have made such an impact on me. While there are many insights she expressed in a more absorbable manner for students, after reading her book and browsing through her blog, I was the most pleased to learn that our career paths shared many parallels. Moreover, to actually see that a successful woman making an impact on people today was once in my same position is, well, reassuring.
Unsure of a direction, Lindsey did all of the advised steps to set herself up for a great job during college. In a brilliant, short introduction, Lindsey explained how she was all over the map in her career search…just like me! From taking the LSAT to living with her parents, Lindsey was in our position not too long ago. It wasn’t until a conversation with a Rotary Ambassador at the right place and the right time that Lindsey decided to attend a graduate program in women’s studies in Melbourne, Australia and was propelled in a new direction—“Was it fate that I met that man and he changed my life? Perhaps. But if I had been sick that morning and hadn’t attended that Rotary meeting, I believe it would have happened some other way. The point is that I didn’t know my right career path until I saw it, heard it, touched it” (Getting From College to Career, xiii).
After experiencing the rut of unknowing after graduation, Lindsey was able to follow a path to a career simply by feeding her own interests and putting herself out there. And, the best part about it is Lindsey has written down what she has learned from it and broken it up into 90 tips! Since I finished her book, I have already followed some of her recommendations—I have compiled a notebook that organizes all of my projects, interviews, and contacts (Tip #6). I have also made it habit to keep up with the news in order to increase my content for conversation, stay informed and figure out my interests (Tip #8). Further, my personal favorite, I have taken it upon myself to watch the top ten greatest American movies of all time (Tip #62). According to Lindsey, “if it feels relevant and appropriate, go ahead and mention your top ten project on a job interview or during networking events. It will make you memorable, and you’ll no doubt strike up a conversation about one of the films on the list” (190).
Speaking with Lindsey and following recommendations from her book has given me confidence. Even though I have yet to find an opportunity that draws me in, I have decided to stop worrying about finding my ideal career path and start managing something in my control, my preparedness. I have made it my personal goal to continue reaching out to all types of people, even if I think they are out of my reach. You never know when that one great opportunity will be flashed before you.
My holiday wish-list idea: Lindsey Pollak’s Getting from College to Career: 90 Things To Do Before You Join the Real World
© 2009 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound
Photo: Kris Hay