Creating Your Own "Experience"
I used to blame others for a lot of things.
Like the reason I didn't have a job that another student was practically "gifted" because their parents had a bunch of connections. Sometimes, I felt like I was the victim to my financial, racial, and geographical circumstances.
I also felt like I was a victim to the businesses that I wanted to hire me. I would think things to myself like:
- "Oh the reason I can't get a job is because I can't get experience."
- "To get experience you need to have experience.
- "I wish I had a parent to go and get me a sweet job at banking firm X, or a summer job at Y resort."
- Why won't businesses hire me? Is it the market? Am I just not good enough? No it's them. They're terrible.
By falling back on these excuses, I think I was giving myself permission to put my head down and do nothing about it. I kept going to school because it was easier to pursue more "education" than to actually chase my goals for themselves.
I figured that if I couldn't get that first job, I just needed to keep at it.
One summer, no internship.
"That's okay, I just had no experience. Maybe next year!" A year passes by.
Still no experience.
"Why is no one giving me experience? I need experience to get a job."
I impatiently waited for a company to take a hedge on me and just let me get some god damn experience!
But I was approaching it wrong the whole time.
I never valued the experience you can craft for yourself. The simple things like:
- creating a blog and writing for a year to prove copywriting and journalism experience
- studying CRMs and statistics software on my own and making little projects to prove technical and management skills
- filming and editing fun movies with my friends to prove project management, creative, and hustle skills
They all prove experience in something -- they just don't have a brand attached to them -- and that's okay.
Just because your experience is not "branded" does not make it any less valuable. I recently talked to a talented filmmaker, who was 10X more impressive than many of the film students I knew about.
He wasn't given experience.
He took it for himself by filming over 50+ videos and asking his connections for any leads on film industry friends. Then he cold-called them.
I think most people take the normal things they do well for granted.
But one thing you should never take for granted is the value of the experience you gain from just exploring your interests.
When you learn on your own and practice new skills, sometimes, it's much more compelling than hearing that you just learned it in school.
The process of getting a job you love becomes so much more enjoyable when you create your experience rather than wait for someone to give it to you.
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Of course branded experiences are nice too!