Why you should keep pushing forward even if you feel like you’re backtracking

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Have you ever heard that arrow being pulled back quote? It goes like this:

An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.

Some people say that this quote is cheesy. But remembering it when I’m going through a funk gives me hope. And as I was talking to my friend, Korin, about her post-college story, this quote was all I could think about.

Korin has an interesting post-college story. And although you may not be going through a similar experience, her story is definitely applicable to a lot of people. It’s especially relevant to anyone who has set a career goal, gotten closer to that goal, and realized that pursuing that career wouldn’t actually be what you thought it would be.

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Korin spent all of her undergrad. preparing to take her next step that would get her closer to the career she thought she wanted. Then, as she got closer to that career, she started to realize that pursuing that career wasn’t actually aligned with who she is or who she wanted to be.

She graduated from her Master’s program without a job lined up despite having four years of work experience. Read on to find out how Korin ended up working in a completely different industry and why she’s happy with her current carer path.

1. What did you study? And why?

I wanted to become a Division 1 women’s basketball coach. So I got my bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communication and Public Relations. Then I went straight into a Sport Management Master’s program.

2. What do you do for work now?

Now, I work in the tech industry as a Senior Strategic Customer Success Manager and I love it.

4. Since you work in tech. right now, did something change for you? If so, what and when?

Yes, something changed for me. I’d been working in women’s hoops for four years and I was about two years into my sport management master’s program when I fell out of love with the career path that I was working toward.

5. Since you were in the middle of your Master’s program, what did you do?

why you should keep pushing forward even if you feel like you're backtracking-pin

I was able to get contract jobs for sports networks and a grad assistant role for the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation. This opened up a whole new world for me.

I got my fix of athletics with those contract jobs. And got to work with Native Americans to come up with a system that would allow them to share information with other tribes.

I wanted to feel like I was making an impact. And my grad assistant role showed me what it felt like to make the impact I wanted to be making.

While creating a website to give Native American tribes a way to share information with each other, I was able to learn about their culture. The Native American tribe I was working with included me in events and traditions I would’ve never known about or gotten to experience.

It sparked a different level of passion in me. And I knew that this feeling was what I needed to find in whatever I would work in.

6. What were your expectations for life after graduating from your masters?

I didn’t really have any because I was still a little confused about what I wanted to do with my life. I knew that I wanted to make a big impact. And I wasn’t sure what that would look like. But I knew what it would feel like.

7. What did you do after you graduated?

I got a volunteer position. It wasn’t an ideal position because I had four years of work experience. But it’s what I could get. At the end of three weeks of commuting four hours a day, I knew I couldn’t do it anymore. 

I ran into a friend and opened up about everything. He mentioned that his company was hiring. I ended up applying and getting a job!

8. Tell me about that job. What made you apply?

It was an entry-level sales position where I’d be selling software. I did question whether or not it would be a step back. Because I had four years of job experience. But I thought, “what do I have to lose?” So I applied.

9. Since it’s so different from what you had been preparing to get a job in, what was it about the job application process that made you think that this was the job for you?

The two people who interviewed me. They asked me questions about me as a human and how I think I could contribute and so many different impactful things. It was so different from any other interview I had ever been in.

I loved the product and tool and I thought, “this is something I could get on board with.”

10. If you could talk to college-you, what advice would you give yourself?

I think the biggest thing I had a hard time with was the amount of time I spent preparing to work in the world of sports. I still loved it and I dedicated so much time to it that I had a hard time letting it go.

I would say to myself that I should trust my gut and not second guess myself. I’d say to be confident in myself. And to not let myself give others the chance to take my sparkle away.

I think I said yes to anything and everything without checking-in with myself to see if I was doing what I wanted or what would make me happy.

Korin’s career goal changed from becoming a D1 Women’s Basketball coach to finding a career where she could make an impact and feel passionate about it. And while she might have felt like she was taking steps back by taking a volunteer job when she already had work experience, she was able to launch her career forward by being open to opportunities that presented themselves to her.

All of this to say that sometimes you’ll feel the need to change your target and when you do this, you’ll like you’re taking a step back. But as long as you keep pushing forward by continuing to aim, you’ll hit your target.

P.S. Download this FREE Career Roadmap to discover your path to your dream job.

Other Post-College Journey Stories:

Want to start a career in marketing, but don't know how to get there?

Get the exact steps you need to take with the FREE Career Roadmap.

Want to start a career in marketing, but don't know how to get there?

Get the exact steps you need to take with the FREE Career Roadmap.