Every college graduate expects to land their dream job right away. It’s not entirely our fault that we have this pipe dream. Our generation was raised to believe that we’re entitled to management positions, six figures and a new Beemer our first year post-grad. Then real life happens. Cue the quarter-life crisis.
By my definition, solely made up by me, a quarter-life crisis is when your mid-twenties hit and you realize that everything you thought you’d have at this point in your life isn’t happening. You’re still eating Easy Mac, sitting on your Craigslist couch that’s scratched up by someone else’s cat, wondering when life is going to start.
I was 24 when it happened. I had recently graduated college with a psychology degree and had a job lined up with a large insurance company working in the call center. It wasn’t my dream job but at $16 an hour, I hoped it’d get me there. I kept telling myself that the money was worth it, but after 5 months of being called every name in the book, cussed at, and belittled with no power to hang up, I had a break down and quit the call center gig. This decision was just the beginning of a really tough year.
"Sometimes God makes us climb mountains so that we can gain a new perspective."
I was unemployed, depressed, angry and alone. I felt like a failure! Collection agencies were calling me, every place I applied to said I was either unqualified or overqualified, I wondered how I would make the rent and I had to get assistance from local food pantries for groceries. All of my friends were getting married and starting careers and I was stuck in a dark place. Fast forward a couple of months and I’m taking the city bus to my new job at the YMCA making peanuts and literally cleaning kids’ poop off the floor. Just 9 months earlier I walked across that stage and was given my diploma, thinking I’d finally made it! How did I get here?
There’s something about being at your lowest point that causes you to fall on your knees in surrender to God. Once I did that, I discovered the “why” of this season He was taking me through. I had gone through a lot in college that I hadn’t dealt with. There was a lot of pain that I had shoved down and I thought that if life could just move on, the hurt would go away. God’s plan was to take everything away from me so that all I could do was deal with the hurt. And while I was healing, He was providing. With six figures and Beemers? No. But random gift cards, cash and groceries seemed to land on my doorstep at just the right moment. The rent was miraculously always paid on time. And just a few months later, He provided a great job that four years later, has turned into a career.
Sometimes God makes us climb mountains so that we can gain a new perspective. I had a plan for my life and He came in and shook things up. Jeremiah 29:11 is a scripture we hear often: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Something God taught me then and continues to teach me now is that when I chose to live for Him, I surrendered my life to His will. His destiny for me is far greater than anything I could ever dream up, but I have to get out of the way so that He can do His thing. I have to be willing to put my plans aside so that I can experience the blessings He has for my life. My advice? Hold loosely to your plans. My life, including my career, is nothing close to what I had planned—it’s way better. And y’all, it’s just getting started!
Written by: Casey Brinkman
Casey Brinkman was born and raised in Vestaburg, Michigan and now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, Chris and dog, Ruby. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Southeastern University and is now the Senior Social Media Strategist for Curious Jane, a digital marketing agency that sparks real-time connections between people and brands. Casey and her husband attend Elevation Church and volunteer with the kid’s ministry and lead a small group in their home for those in their 20’s and 30’s. She also enjoys hiking, kayaking, trying new recipes and binge-watching Netflix shows.
I have a familiar face.
I know this to be true because people often tell me. While I personally believe this confusion is caused by my dramatic resemblance to Michelle Obama, Olivia Pope, and Aisha Tyler, it nonetheless makes for interesting interactions.
When complete strangers approach me in grocery stores, restaurants, or airports, the interaction usually goes one of two ways:
Stranger 1: “You know what…you look like my cousin Sheila.”
Me: “Oh, I do?”
Stranger 1: Pam! Doesn’t she look just like Sheila?
Stranger 2: “Oh, Sheila?! Why yes! She does look like Sheila…that’s our cousin.”
Me: “You know, people tell me I have familiar face! Where are you guys from? Do you live around here?”
Stranger 1: “Excuse me, have we met before?”
Me: “I don’t believe so. What’s your name?”
Stranger 1: “My name is ___. You looked just like someone I met at a business event recently.”
Me: “Well, you know; I’m often told I have a familiar face. That event sounds interesting…what do you do for work?”
Here’s the thing - I didn’t know these people. They didn’t know me. BUT they were all willing to step out, take a risk, and talk to me. They had no idea how I would respond. I could have engaged them in friendly conversation, or ignored their presence completely. With little regard for the end result, these strangers took the risk simply because they “thought” I look like someone they knew.
Familiarity is powerful.
Familiarity in your brand, your writing, or your business can give complete strangers the reassurance they need to move from audience to consumer.
Familiarity grants people permission to take risks, and make decisions that (without familiarity) would otherwise place them too far outside of their comfort zones. When people trust you, or trust someone who trusts you, they become far more willing to purchase your new product, read your new book, or join your grassroots movement.
Familiarity can propel others to try your product. When they try your product, and it works well, they trust your product. When they trust your product, they trust your brand. When they trust your product and your brand, they will continue using it and hopefully recommend it to others. And the cycle continues!
Familiarity has the potential to breed trust, and trust is the key to a successful brand, business and career.
All the best,