About an hour ago, my friend asked me, via telephone, what was on my agenda for the rest of the day.
“Not much,” I said. The air was off in the office, so I decided that working at Starbucks would be more fun than marinating in my own sweat. Quick aside–when you’re overheated, coffee isn’t the best beverage choice. Anyway, the air was off–I told her–so I planned on doing some client work for Gunner Technology from Starbucks and wrapping up a few items for ESPN before going to relax in my gym’s hot tub. Also–probably not the best idea when you can’t sweat anymore.
As I was telling her this, I realized I hadn’t written my post for the week, so I asked her what she wished she would have known when she was making her way through school. Now, she’s a really smart cookie, and I’m glad she is because I was plum out of ideas.
She tells me she wished she would have known that it was OK to take classes that didn’t directly contribute to her degree or to her minimum credits required to graduate.
(This of course, is fiction. I did hours of research throughout the week to deliver you the best topic the Internet has to offer on career advice. Don’t tell her that, though.)
I’m intentionally burying the lead (as those crazy journalists say) to make a point. Going on tangents is good once and a while, and you can learn a lot from them. I wish I would have followed this advice going through college.
I started as a business major at the University of Florida, switched to journalism after two semesters and graduated less than a year and a half later. I took exactly what I needed and nothing more. Two years, I had my bachelor’s degree. Boom! I was ready for the real world. But, as I’m now in the workplace, I realize that so few people work in a field that they got their undergraduate degree for.
I cut my teeth as a web developer. I took one C++ class in college and dropped it. My point is, who knows where you are going to be 10 years after graduation? If you’re a math major and want to know what color underwear Napoleon wore, take a French history class. If you’re a liberal arts major and you want to know why the golden ratio is so naturally appealing, take a design class about fractals.
Does that mean you graduate four months later? Maybe.
Does that mean you may uncover a hidden passion? Maybe.
But isn’t that second ‘maybe’ a little bit more important than the next?
Like I said, I was a journalism major, hell bent on making it to ESPN as talent (reporter, analyst, talk show host, etc), but because I ended up taking a class on Digital Media, taught by an excellent professor, I discovered what I really wanted to do and made my way to ESPN as a web developer and later, manager.
Better yet, ESPN afforded me the opportunity to get my MBA where I discovered my passion for entrepreneurship even though I started my MBA with the goal of climbing the corporate latter.
In business, you hear the word ‘pivot’ all the time. Your business or company has to be nimble enough to pivot and change its business model and operating procedures. Well, as a student, pivot if you find something you’re passionate or more passionate about. And be nimble and open enough to allow it to happen.
Cody is a Product Manager and Social Media Specialist at ESPN. He manages, conceptualizes and develops many of the social aspects of ESPN.com. He also is Founder and CEO for Gunner Technology, Inc an end-to-end Web strategy company, providing solutions for businesses. Previously, Cody worked as a developer for ESPN.com, building many of the live scoreboards and GameCast applications. In a previous life, he covered Florida Gator sports as a beat reporter, talk show host and television producer. Cody earned an MBA, Masters Degree in Communication and Bachelors Degree in Journalism from the University of Florida. He currently lives in Los Angeles.