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It’s Okay if Your Dreams Change

October 13, 2009
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Before I began my adult life as a PR professional, I had one singular dream: to be a sports journalist. I always knew I wanted to be in journalism. I loved to write, people told me I was good at it, and I hated math, which ruled out most professions that required a lot of left-brain thinking. I loved being in the action, talking to athletes after they’d won games, and even after they’d lost.

Full disclosure: I was a dancer growing up, and hated sports. At Boston University I danced at every basketball game, and couldn’t have cared less about the outcome. Then, I was presented with an opportunity to intern for Fox Sports – Southwest, and I jumped at the chance, not realizing that it might actually help to know a few things about sports teams in Texas. When my future boss asked me to take the standard intern test, I knew the answer to one question: Who owns the Astros? He hired me anyway, and sent me off for the day with about 20 media guides for every local pro, high school, and middle school team. I had my work cut out for me.

I spent the summer making that pathetic first day up to them, never missing a losing Astros game (and believe me, there were many), shooting high school baseball in the middle of nowhere in Texas July heat, and eventually working a 14-hour day – in heels – during the All-Star game.

I went on to have several other sports internships, and even had a fantastic mentor in Marc Vandermeer, who always gave me advice and encouraged me. Still, as I continued to work, something was lacking and my heart wasn’t completely in it. Maybe it was the hours, maybe it was some of the less-than-pleasant people I met that turned me off. Either way, I realized it probably wasn’t for me and threw in the towel. It was a difficult thing to do, to move on.

Looking back, now semi-established in my career, I’m grateful for the opportunities I had, but know I made the right choice to choose PR over journalism. At the time it seemed like nothing would ever be as perfect a fit for me. It turns out that looking at my options through a wide lens instead of a tunnel, I saw a future that had plenty of potential and promise.

The promise of that dream job, the one you thought you’d have when you were little, might still hang over you, unrealized. But consider this: maybe what you thought was your dream job is nothing compared to what you’ll experience if you get off the path you think you have to follow. It’s hard to let go of a goal, but you can go back, though if you’re like me, you’ll be happily surprised to find you don’t want to.

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