New Beginnings

It’s been a while since I’ve written, but it’s also been a hectic couple of months. But, it’s been an amazing couple of months. I finally achieved one of my life goals (and a secret goal of starting this blog), and took my dream job with the Walt Disney Company. And now, I can finally share the details of how I got to this point.

It all started, appropriate to the timing of this post, as a New Years Resolution in 2011. It took a lot of internal struggle just to get to the point where I could make this resolution. I had always wanted to work at Disney. It was my dream company, with a product I’d be excited to work on and values I’d identify with; but there were parts of me that were scared to try. I didn’t want to leave my hometown where all my family and friends were. I was quite comfortable at [my former job] and I didn’t want to “leave the devil I know for the devil I don’t know.” I could go on and on, because there will always be reasons not to pursue your dreams. But in the beginning of 2011, with my MBA behind me and my friends succeeding at achieving their life goals, I got inspired. I decided that this was going to be the year I set my mind to achieving my dream.

My New Year’s resolution was not necessarily “get a job at Disney in 2011,” although that’s what I hoped would end up happening (SPOILER ALERT: it did!). My New Year’s Resolution was to do one thing every single day that would get me closer to my job at Disney. This took on a variety of meanings from applying for jobs (I applied for a grand total of 32), to researching different aspects of the company, making new contacts at or affiliated with Disney, writing blog posts, or honing my technical skills. I wrote this as a task in my day planner for every single day of the year, and if you know me well you know that I absolutely live to check off tasks in my day planner! As an aside, this helped me with 2 of my other resolutions to learn Italian via Rosetta Stone and work out 6 days a week. I highly recommend a day planner to anyone who doesn’t have one. That overdue, unchecked task really taunts you.

Anyway, back to the journey. There were some setbacks. I felt pretty confident when I finally submitted my first resume, after days of tweaking and sending to friends and family for advice, only to immediately receive a rejection email within 6 hours of submission. The same followed for the next 3 resumes I submitted. It got better from there, but only in terms how long it took for my rejection letter to come. The long lead times between submission and rejection provided me with some glimmer of hope that maybe this whole ordeal wasn’t totally pointless. It wasn’t until mid-July¬† that I was invited to my first phone screening interview, which led to a phone interview with the manager, an in-person interview, and, finally, a job offer.

That period from applying to offer took about four months, and during that period I never stopped my daily Disney task to make sure that if it didn’t work out I wasn’t falling behind. I even looked into moving to Orlando toward the end of the year without a job to better network and be more available for interviews. If I hadn’t secured the job when layoffs at [former company] were announced, I am about 95% sure I would have offered to be separated.

Finally, let me close with just one really simple thought about this whole experience: having your dream job 100% rocks, and I highly recommend it to anyone. This is such an obvious statement that it doesn’t even seem worth stating, but if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t have taken me 4 years to work up the courage to realize that this was what I really wanted, so maybe it isn’t that obvious. It’s been a lot of change, but it’s exactly what I worked for and wanted, and I’m excited to build a career here.

I’m thinking really hard about New Year’s Resolutions for 2012, so expect to see a post on that in the near future (Hint: More blogging will likely be a theme for 2012). It worked out last year, so why give up a good thing? I think of it as my Personal Annual Review, but I’m only accountable to myself. It’s motivating to have goals and checkpoints for yourself to do the things you really want to do.

Happy New Year, make 2012 your best yet!