The Fruits of My Labor

Today I’m sharing with you a feature story I wrote as a sort of end product of my summer internship. Check it out here.

In the span of almost six minutes, I ended up dedicating over two months of time and effort, but I couldn’t be prouder. When I first listened to the story myself, I got goosebumps because it was something I care so much about. Despite different obstacles, good days and bad days, it all came together.

From interviews to pictures to production, making a feature story is no easy task. I’m not that devoted to most of the local-focused stories I cover, but this was so different. We all have those so-so required tasks, but ultimately hopefully we can find those fulfilling tasks.

Something I have always prided myself on is my strong work ethic, often to the point of perfectionism. I’m willing to point all of the time necessary to produce a product I am proud of. I definitely have my moments that I just do something to get it done with a little less thought behind it, but it’s rare.

And with all of the effort I typically put into my work, I notice a distinct difference depending on the subject, that the when I truly care about the topics I’m writing or covering, the work doesn’t feel like work. Which is probably obvious, but important to remember.

In today’s society we’re so driven by dollar signs that we can forget that a career and a job are two very different definitions. A job makes money. Very necessary to live. But a job doesn’t produce much beyond money. It’s not like you wake up every morning excited to your assigned tasks. The compensation is great, but in the moment of doing them, all you care about is that you’re there to make money. You have to be.

But a career is so different. A career is a passion. A career excites you. It sparks your interest. It allows for personal and professional growth. Rather than feeling drained after a long day, you feel inspired. You wake up in the money striving to do more. It provides a sense of fulfillment and confidence.

Even as kids, the idea of choosing jobs that make the most money is drilled into our heads. I remember in high school as we talked about our future plans, many hoping to attend medical school or law school openly admitted it was just to earn a six-figure salary. I don’t think I’ve ever been more frustrated. You only have one life, so why are you willingly choosing to spend it for a few extra dollars every month?

Despite never quite knowing where to go for a career, I never wanted a position solely for potential salary. That never crosses my mind. I think of how I want to spend my days. I want to travel to new places and write about things I care about and feel proud of my accomplishments. What that exact position and title that is, I still have to find out. But rather than ever wanting to be wealthy in monetary and material goods, I want to be wealthy in experiences. I want to count the number of countries I’ve visited, not the number of dollars in my checking account.

You’ll have jobs that are simply jobs. And it’s important to have those to know the difference between a job and career. You think I really found passion in food service? Never. It was my first job, first experience in that responsible role, a crucial part of becoming a functioning member of society. You have to make an income, and that might take having to work in those jobs that aren’t too thrilling. But ultimately, don’t settle for them. Don’t rest idly in a position that provides a high income to the point that you have no time to actually enjoy what you love. Be realistic, but also be ambitious.

If it takes you years to ever reach that optimal goal, it is worth every second to feel  truly alive. The process for some is very easy, that they just grow up knowing exactly where they should be. Some can visualize the end goal but face obstacles along the way. And some of us are still kind of floating, exploring and learning about ourselves until we can pinpoint our inner desire. I believe we are all placed on this earth for a reason, to serve in an ideal role tailored to our unique characters and skills. Money is never a factor in these “predestined” roles. Maybe you thrive as a heart surgeon, pursue it. Maybe you feel immense joy and fulfillment through garbage collecting, go for it. We need people who want to fill all of these different roles, but if we’re all striving toward jobs that we feel obligated to, you could be depriving somebody else of somewhere they truly belong.

So listen to yourself. Try many different positions and experiences. Don’t let outside voices override your own instincts (advice and wisdom is important, but when it becomes feeling forced into a certain mold, then it’s time to turn your ears inward). Allow yourself to make mistakes and change your mind and go in different directions. The process is overwhelming. It’s usually a lifelong journey. But it’s all about reaching that final destination.

I know I still have a long journey still ahead of me. This internship has just been a stepping stone along the way. I’ve learned I’m not made to sit in an office or write for broadcast. But I’ve also learned how far my spoken voice can reach and the indescribable pride I feel hearing a project I feel strongly about. I’m thankful for my growth, but I’m also a proponent for change, exploring other positions, never sitting still.

Put in the work, the effort, the passion, and you will be rewarded.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie


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