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It Took a Little Courage

Tue Feb 27 2018 | Author: Carol Olmstead
In his new book, College Success Stories That Inspire: Lessons from Inside and Outside the Classroom, author Steven Roy Goodman shares college-days anecdotes from many professionals - including me. My story is in the chapter called "It Took a Little Courage," and it describes an experience during my college internship taught me the value of unorthodox decisions.

In the summer of my junior year as a journalism major at the University of Maryland, College Park, I won a coveted spot in the Magazine Publishers Association college intern program. There were thirty of us from across the country, each assigned to magazines in New York City. The participating publications included Newsweek, Time, and what for me would have been the prize assignment, (The New Yorker. What did I get? Woman's Day Magazine. It was 1970 and I couldn't believe I had to work for a "housewife" magazine that featured articles like making your child's Halloween mask from a plastic bleach container. (Yes, that was not only an actual article, but one that I wrote that summer as well.)

The first day I walked into their editorial offices, I was surprised to find that I had entered a hotbed of feminism. The staff was young and hip, rather than the stuffy group I had expected to find. I ended up loving every minute of the five weeks I worked there.

One of the typical intern jobs I had was answering the phone for my editor. I especially remember a phone conversation with Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco to set up an interview with my editor. "Hello, this is Grace Kelly," she said in her regal voice when I answered what I thought would be a typical phone call.

And the surprises kept coming.

Toward the end of my internship, Editor Geraldine Rhoads took me to a publishers' luncheon in a private club on Madison Avenue. When we checked in, the receptionist said that we had to enter the dining room through the kitchen because this was an all-male club.

"I will not go through the kitchen," Geraldine replied. She grabbed my hand and, with head held high, she marched us through the library into the dining room. A few men looked up and scowled, but most didn't even notice.

We sat down at our table, and my heart was pounding. "Did we just do that?" my former naive self asked.

"We just did that!" my new, more self-assured self replied.

My world was forever changed as I realized I didn't have to follow what was expected of me and that I could make decisions that were outside the box, no matter how bold.

Fast-forward many years, past the expected writing and public affairs jobs to my current "odd job" as a Feng Shui practitioner. I was always happier editing than writing so it all makes perfect sense that I'm now editing people's surroundings to help them live better lives. While it may be an unusual career choice, it's surely one that Geraldine influenced, and I'm happy being the "odd" woman out in a cutting-edge field.

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Posted in: Career & Office | Tags: feng shui, career, college, internship, College Success Stories

© Copyright 2021, Carol Olmstead