Yesterday was one of the best experiences I’ve had in a long time. BlogHer ’14 is being held in San Jose, only about 25 minutes from my house. A college friend of mine is very well known in the blogosphere and Twitterverse and is going to be a keynote speaker at the conference. When I found out she was going to be in town and she found out I lived nearby, she invited me to an informal meet and greet with other black women bloggers who are attending the conference.
I’ve never been to a blogger conference. I don’t really consider myself a blogger, even though I own three (!!!) blogs. I’m not as consistent as I would like to be, and my following is small. I also do not tend to be very focused in my blogging, treating these spaces more as a public diary than based around a cohesive theme.
Nevertheless, I was a blogger last night. A black woman blogger. Surrounded by over 40 other black women bloggers, I was a member of a community of women dedicated to telling our stories. After introducing ourselves and taking a group photo, we had the opportunity to mingle and talk. And it was during that time that I met two openly generous sisters who gave me the best advice.
Jennifer and Terra are Stanford B-school friends and entrepreneurs. They work in their fields helping others to achieve their goals – Jennifer in health and wellness and Terra in career coaching. We talked about a lot in the 30 minutes or so that we had. But it was six simple words that stuck with me. Six simple words I so desperately needed to hear.
Both of these women had left careers that left them miserable. Good jobs that left them drained and uninspired. They both decided to step out on faith, their own ability to do what they wanted to do versus what they had to do. Both women, highly educated at some of the nation’s best schools, had the credentials and experience to work for other people, helping to support someone else’s dream. They were a lot like me. But at some point they realized that their passion involved working for their own dreams and pursuing their own passions. So they left their high-paying corporate jobs.
They weren’t without a plan. These women knew that if it came to it, if their own ventures failed to launch, they could always get a job. They could always find someone to employ them, someone who was willing to use their skills and experience towards some corporate goal. They could ALWAYS get a j.o.b.
I wrote a few days ago about how scared I am about the future. One of my biggest fears is not being able to pay my rent – What if I don’t publish the way I need to? What if I can’t get an academic job where I want? What if all the hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt that I will soon need to pay back does not ultimately lead to this wonderful life I imagine for myself where money is not unlimited, but where I don’t have to worry? What if?
The answer is: “You can always get a job.”
Despite the difficulties in both the legal job market and the academic job markets, I know I can always get a job. I have credentials from one of the best schools in both of my fields. I have practical work experience in finance and higher education. I have people who hear about me through others and let me know that if I ever need a job, they likely have one for me. After my clerkships, I can get a job in a law firm in a city I’d like to live in. And I’ll get a bonus from clerking, and come in as a third-year associate.
If academia doesn’t work out for me, I can always get a job.
If the money isn’t coming in like I want it to, I can always get a job.
If all else fails, I can always get a job.
Can I tell you how empowering that one idea was for me? Can I tell you how I hugged these women I didn’t even know 30 minutes prior for this wonderful piece of advice? Can I tell you how much anxiety melted away in the amount of time it took for the words to leave these sisters’ mouth, go into my ears and register in my brain?
I can always get a job. Yes. I can.