Fairy Tale Success Story

11 Jan

Times are tough.  The economy hasn’t been great, our congress can’t seem to put their differences aside and earning a college degree – which used to mean guaranteed employment – doesn’t seem to guarantee anything anymore.

For this reason I’d like to share an honest to goodness all American success story.  A story about a girl who believed if she followed her passion, worked as hard as she could and created her own opportunities would succeed in her chosen career.bailey

Bailey was born and raised in a small town in Ohio.  She attended Ohio University and after changing her major several times decided to choose Sport Management. Her parents weren’t too sure about her choice since she had exhibited almost zero interest in sports since she stopped playing basketball in the 5th grade.  They did recall that she loved to watch football – especially when “her” Pittsburgh Steelers would play her father’s Cleveland Browns – and you know how that usually ended!

As she grew closer to her graduation date, her mother in particular worried herself sick. It wasn’t that she didn’t believe her daughter was talented.  It wasn’t that she didn’t believe her daughter wouldn’t work hard. It was more about the lack of opportunities in the immediate area.  Since Bailey hadn’t yet secured a position prior to graduation, it would mean that she would return home to an area that was severely lacking in job opportunities. Not only would she not be able to land a job within the sport industry, she’d be lucky to land a job asking people if they wanted the larger sized drink for only .25 cents more!

So mom got busy.  She scoured the ads and came across an internship for a fan based Sport Blog. It didn’t pay anything but she felt that while Bailey was looking for a “real job” it would be great experience.  She e-mailed the ad to her daughter and Bailey sent in a writing sample.  Within a short amount of time, an editor replied that he would like for her to come aboard and that he “had a really good feeling” about her capabilities. So the plan was set. She would write part time, send out resumes and help her mother build traffic to the Sports Section on her website.

Now let me just say that at this moment I’m not entirely sure that it wasn’t a form letter. Perhaps this editor said that to almost everyone he hired. But even if it was – what a great thing to say to a young college graduate and talk about the power of living up to expectations. Can you imagine a world where people just “had a really good feeling” about everyone they met?

And so Bailey began to write – and I mean write.  She wrote something like 5 or 6 articles a day.  She would write about football, basketball, baseball, wrestling – you name it, she would write about it.  They assigned her all kinds of different articles about every imaginable sport and whatever it was, she wrote about it.

This particular Blog also kept track of “reads” for each writer.  It was posted prominently on the website and each time an article was posted, the family would gather around the computer and hit “refresh” every couple of minutes gasping with delight as the  read count grew by 10 or so. It was a real rush for the family and aunts and uncles would call and express encouragement as they followed her budding career. And since she was a female in a field that is still predominately male, she garnered a following that was impressed a young girl would know so much about sports.

And then she was approached to “try out” for a job with the department that was responsible for driving the most traffic to the site. It was up to them to know the “hot” topics, the topics that people would want to read and to make sure that they wrote timely articles. There was  a small daily stipend as I recall, but not much – good thing she was still living home!

She ended the first week of try outs and things seemed to be going well. Her new Editor/Manager was in touch with her daily and her articles were all getting decent reads (4K – 10K was the average).  And then he went on vacation for a few days and his boss, took over.  He assigned Bailey articles all day long and she wrote them. It got to be the end of the week, late on a Friday and she was tired.  Really tired.  The last article assigned to her that week was one that she wasn’t particularly interested in and the research was tedious. She struggled through it and eventually finished it early in the evening. When she finished, her mother heard her say for the one and only time in her career “It’s good enough.”  Those words worried her mom. It wasn’t like Bailey and, after all, this was a trial period. She was being evaluated against others.

She didn’t hear anything over the weekend. Monday and Tuesday came and went and nobody contacted her. Her e-mail to her editor inquiring about her future with the company went unanswered.  It was pretty obvious that she was going to be passed over. But this is the part that you need to pay attention to.  Did Bailey throw in the towel?  Did she say “Well, maybe things will work out next time?” Nope.  As she stood in line at the grocery store, she glanced at a women’s magazine that had an article on the front page that sparked her interest. She knew that that company she wrote for was almost all men and that she brought something unique to the table.  She knew what article to write and she went home and wrote it.  And the family gathered around to watch. 5k, 10K, 20K, 40K  reads later, they hugged each other as she had written something that had earned more reads than any of the previous articles that she had been assigned. More reads, in fact, than most articles on the entire website normally earned.

Reads were off the chart

Article got tons of reads

The next day the phone rang – it was the editor calling her back and offering her a job (a real paying job) with the company.  Although the family never got the full story, they got enough to put together a scenario. There had been a meeting the day before and upper management wanted to know who assigned the article that got the phenomenal number of hits.  Her editor has an “aha” moment and informed them that it was a trial writer and that he had decided to offer her a permanent full time position. Everyone in the room agreed.

Bailey has now been relocated (and promoted) twice in the 2 years she’s been with the company. They first moved her to NYC and then six months later to the home office in San Francisco. She’s 24 years old, absolutely loves her job, is passionate about her company – and is living her dream.

True story. My daughter.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: