[This article is also available on Huffington Post: click HERE.]
There have been many stories about the power of women this past week. I wanted to share a professional experience that made a very personal impact on me and made me realize that I could take the reigns of my own life.
I was in my early-30s and had recently resigned from my job as a talent agent at WME (the William Morris Agency, as it was then known). I stayed on a few months after my resignation to make sure my exit was as seamless as possible. I still set meetings, closed deals, and did everything agents do. During that time, I was invited to join our superstar client Wynonna Judd to an Oprah Show appearance in Chicago.
Wynonna’s voice and humor always inspire, and going to an Oprah show taping had been a 20-year dream of mine. I couldn’t think of a more exciting final business trip as a talent agent. I went into talk to BIG BOSS about the opportunity and to ask if I could go. Even though it was a business trip, I was leaving the company and so I said that I would pay. To my surprise, my soon-to-be-former boss was adamant that I not go.
At that time, I still had a very strong pattern of obedience to authority, particularly male authority. I was so upset that he wouldn’t “let” me go. And, like a daughter who was mad at her father, I pouted in my office.
Even though I was upset, I cared about his opinion of me very much. I still wanted to be a “good girl.” And, as I often did, I internalized everything: I was sick to my stomach. Literally. One of my senior colleagues asked what was wrong and I explained the story. His reaction changed my life.
“Krista,” he said. “Has BIG BOSS ever walked down to your office?”
I thought about it and replied, “Nope.”
“Is you cell phone working?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Is there anything that will happen while you are away that you can’t take care of with a call or email?”
“Not really,” I said.
“Krista, I say this from the heart: GO!! You must! It’s Wynonna Judd! It’s Oprah! You were invited and it’ll be an amazing experience. If BIG BOSS calls, just say you’re out of the office and leave it at that. It’s the truth. Plus you’ll only be gone for two days and are leaving the company soon—it won’t matter to him, it will only matter to you.”
It was like the sun breaking through dark clouds. I finally got it. Life was presenting me with a choice: “Follow or F-it?” I remember thinking that this is my life to act in and not be acted upon. I had a complete attitude shift: I was in the driver’s seat of my life!
I’m convinced that it was only through a little divine help that I made it onto the plane to Chicago that morning. I got to be there with Wynonna and heard her sing her hit song “Attitude“ with gusto! I had a new attitude; I had a choice in my life, and the next few months at the agency were spent with a change of heart, as I closed that chapter in my life.
Taking control of your own life is not a one-time event. It takes constant attention, perspective, and sometimes a little help from others. With confidence, I made the choice and benefited because of it. In this case, I chose to “F-it” and BIG BOSS never even knew I was out of the office.
Krista Parkinson runs MyGradsGetJobs, which helps juniors, seniors and recent college grads get their first jobs in entertainment. Sign up for her excellent blog here: mygradsgetjobs.com/mailinglist