Alexis Madrid, University of Colorado Denver
The Winding Career Path
One of the main reasons many pursue college is to get a well-paying, non-laboring job that they will hopefully enjoy, especially if they are a first-generation student. We have seen our parents, grandparents, and family members working hard at low-wage and sometimes multiple jobs to make ends meet.
It is an immense privilege to attend college and have many career options to pursue after graduation. Even with that privilege, there can be a lot of anxiety and doubt about whether you are making the "right" career choice. I chose a business degree because, like most people, I figured I would eventually open a business and be my own boss. It wasn't until I was in my third year of college and after my first trip with the NMGZ Community that introduced me to experiential and event marketing.
After visiting various marketing agencies and seeing the projects they worked on, I caught a glimpse of my future in marketing. I was motivated and excited to finish school and start a career in this industry. All the pieces began to connect, and I saw the bigger picture of how I would put my degree to use. I finally felt more relieved than worried about what I wanted to do after graduation.
However, graduating during the pandemic added worry and stress to my job search, especially since I wanted to continue working in events. Despite the pandemic, I was determined to gain as much experience as possible in the event industry.
I became the Marketing Coordinator for my university's events team and landed an internship at Meow Wolf. I searched for anything remotely related to events or experiential marketing near me in Denver, Colorado, and even applied for a fellowship out in New York City. I felt so determined that I would find a job in marketing and events in some capacity that I declined a few job offers.
The Marketing Director at a mall was interested in interviewing me due to my experience in events. I felt like the job I was looking for had found me! I spent seven months planning and marketing over twenty community events. Although I was unexpectedly laid off from my job, I felt it was time for me to move on.
I was optimistic that all the experience I gained from that first post-college role would give me an advantage during my job hunt.
I was having deja-vu while applying for jobs again. It was a long and brutal five months of being unemployed. I felt like I had lost the excitement and motivation I had the first time I was looking for a career in experiential or event marketing. To stay hopeful, I constantly reminded myself that everything happens for a reason, and this was just a phase in my life that would soon be over.
To my surprise, I received an offer to be a Marketing Project Manager for an outdoor agency, a position I thought I was underqualified for and was not expecting.
It's been nearly three months since I accepted the job, and I am so grateful to have landed a well-paying, non-laboring job that I enjoy. While I did not plan for this role and am not directly working in events or experiential marketing, I now know my experience here will help lead me to a role in that industry.
I believe that your career may not always happen as you try to plan it, but it will always work out the way it should.