April 27, 2017

A Valuable Lesson for Today

The following is a guest post by Yan Tang.

Photo by Yan Tang
A friend recently asked me if I could work as an office assistant for her friend Lisa who owns a dentistry in Bellevue, Wash. Lisa has been through several of changes in her office. She injured her arm and two staff members quit recently. She was desperate for people working for her. On the other hand, I was still in uncertainty about when I could get an internship and I thought I could do a favor to my friend. So I said "yes."

The interview with Lisa was quite simple, and she even did not ask me what career I would like to have or what was my long-term career plan. Apparently, she was in need of more hands. Soon, she made an internship offer to me as an office assistant. I was not excited as I should be. Having years of experiences in recruiting and project management prior to starting the MBA program at Seattle University, I clearly know that I want to pursue my career as a professional recruiting consultant or project manager upon the completion of the program in 2018. However, I could not convince myself not to take this offer. I was even thinking it might be an "OKAY" internship for the short-term. I called my mentor, Sue Oliver, for her opinion.

Sue was a little disappointed that I would take this job since she knew I have been looking for an internship related to recruiting and project management. She challenged me: "Do you want to become a dentist?" "No," I replied. "But I will work for Lisa temporarily and she needs help."

Sue simply said you would lose every single hour that was supposed for searching your dream job if you worked in the dental office. If she needed help, you could help her find interns as you were a recruiter before. I was suddenly enlightened. No matter how discouraging finding my dream internship or no matter how long it will take, I need to hold the belief and faith. I made up my mind that I would not take this internship.

I went to Lisa's dental office and observed how she operated the business. Because of her severely injured arm, she had to reschedule patients which caused a lot loss for her business. It was also very stressful as she did not have enough people working in the office. She had to see patients and train her staff at the same time. I knew I could help a lot if I could work here, but I had made up my mind sticking with what I dream to do.

I talked with Lisa that I could not work for her as an assistant here because my long term goal is to become a professional consultant or project manager. But I could help with finding interns for her and help with staff management as I have a lot student resources at Seattle University and have some friends who want to find a job. In addition, I worked for a Fortune 500 human resource company where recruiting and staff management were my expertise. Her response was a little surprising to me. She appreciated that I was being honest to her and she even felt fortunate that I have the talent helping her find right people which she needs the most. She said, "Yan, I did not know your background before. But I am glad we had such an open conversation. No matter how many hours you spend in looking for interns, I will pay you to do that." Then I was getting excited as it turned out Lisa becomes my "client." My job is to provide recruiting consultation for her. I will not only recruit interns for her, but also show her how to manage and retain her staff since she has high turnover rate in her practice. That is being said, she will not just get the fish; she will learn how to fish as well. What is interesting for me is that I created an opportunity for myself to practice my recruiting and consulting skills!!

After the conversation with Lisa, I could not wait to call Sue Oliver about the turnaround. Sue said she was not surprised, because if you know what you want to do, the world will make the way for you. She also shared with me her mentor's wisdom which is: follow what you love to do, you will not go wrong. I feel so blissful that I am able to hold on to what I love and dream to do, and this faith turns out to be a great opportunity for me and for others. Today's experience really taught me a valuable lesson that I will always keep in mind: never compromise to something that you do not love to do and hold the faith in your heart!!

Yan Tang is enrolled in the Professional Master of Business Administration (Marketing) program at Seattle University. She also serves as a Business Relationship Management and Small Business Coach at Seattle University's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center. Previously, Ms. Tang worked for Manpower in the company's Shanghai, China office where she served in several roles including Service Consultant, On-Site Project Manager for IBM Shanghai, and Recruitment Consultant. Ms. Tang may be contacted at yantang1126@gmail.com.

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