As I wind down my final week here at the AG’s Office before starting my next career adventure, I wanted to also impart some wisdom I have gained in this process to those still struggling to find that next rung.
Before beginning this internship in March, I had been out of work for almost a year. After a frustrating first several months of unemployment, I discovered the subsidized worker retraining programs offered by WorkSource. Among these programs was a year-long public relations certificate program through the University of Washington; a perfect chance for a career shift from my marketing background.
After weeks of appointments and seemingly endless paperwork, I secured my funding and began the program last fall. My fellow classmates, most in the same boat as I was, instantly became a close-knit network. Our instructors, some of Seattle’s most experienced professionals, were supplemented by guest speakers from all areas of the industry.
In fact, one guest speaker we had during the fall quarter was the attorney general’s communications director, Janelle Guthrie, who mentioned an opportunity to intern at the AG’s Seattle Office.
See where I’m going with this?
With a little patience and perseverance, we worked through the paperwork and I started my internship shortly thereafter. In the meantime, as the UW Certificate program eventually wound down, we all stressed about what our next steps would be. Many of us were surely going to remain in close contact, but we had no idea what the future held. Facebook became our main form of communication after the program ended. This venue is where a dear friend of mine from the class informed me that the large PR agency where she interned and now works permanently was looking for an entry-level account person.
Again, see where I’m going with this?
After her referral -- and several interviews -- I was offered the job I will be starting next Wednesday. I even got to bypass the internship role due to the experience I gained working (for free) with the attorney general's public affairs team for seven months.
My point is this: Being out of work is one of the most humbling, frustrating things that can happen to a person. You know; I know it. But be aware of what resources are available to you, talk to everyone you can, don’t be afraid to work for free and actively work your personal and professional networks.
But above all else: Be prepared for the serendipitous. It’ll happen when you least expect it.
Thank you, readers. It’s been a thin slice of heaven.
- Darius Schwarz, (former) AGO Public Affairs Intern
[Blog Moderator's Comment: Thanks, Darius, and good luck! We'll miss you.]