Monday, August 4, 2014

What's the best that can happen?

by Joan

When I graduated college, many, many suns and moons ago, I interviewed on campus with several accounting firms that were then considered part of the “Big 8.” Because grades had not been my highest priority, my G.P.A. was less than stellar. Not terrible, mind you, but anything less than a 3.5 could barely get one an interview, let alone a job offer. In every interview, I was more nervous than the last. Unprepared, unrehearsed.

Sunset at Crater Lake, Oregon; Photo by Rick Mora

In front of starched suits and serious mugs, I was feigning a confidence I didn’t have, using a voice I didn’t recognize. Needless to say I was rejected by all of what I considered at the time to be my top choices. I had worked at Swensen’s through most of college and began to think I might be scooping long-term. Why had I worked so hard for my accounting degree?

My last on-campus interview was with a large local firm that I had not heard of. Thinking I had nothing to lose, I decided to relax. What’s the worst that could happen? I’d walk away with no job? Big deal. I already didn’t have a job.

And so I relaxed. It didn’t hurt that the interviewer greeted me with a warm smile and settled into his chair, unhurried. I decided to be myself. I answered the tough questions honestly and the ones about my grades without embarrassment. I should have asked, what’s the best that could happen?

Moon over Crater Lake, Oregon; Photo by Rick Mora
It was at that firm where I learned my work ethic. My stick-to-it-iveness. My determination to not only push through, but to strive for perfection. The work was challenging and I was good at it. I got great reviews, I was promoted. I was with them for over three years, but every accounting job I’ve had since has been because of relationships I developed at that first firm.

And so when someone (or that little voice in my head) asks, why am I working so hard at writing? I’ll never get an agent. I’ll never get a publishing deal. I sit back in my chair, unhurried, relaxed, and write. Because I love it. Because I strive for a perfect sentence, and then another. Because I ask myself, what’s the best that could happen?

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