“Don’t worry, you’ve got this!”
Those words have carried me through every challenging work-related experience I’ve had.
They supplement my life motto, Fake it until you make it, which I interpret as a license not to cheat but to be resourceful.
When the questions came during my internship – Olivia, can you Photoshop this photo to be 16 by 9? Do you know Final Cut? Can you replace the source file in Brightcove with an updated script in the readable video? – I always responded, “Sure! No problem,” as I quickly ran to google what those requests meant. Not cheating, just being resourceful.
But self-confidence can only go so far. When you mess up, or even when nothing goes wrong but you feel lost, it’s hard to convince yourself you can do it.
Sometimes you need help. I’m lucky to have found that many times, through many people.
I found it at the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y., where I interned in 2016 and now work full time as a photographer-videographer. I was hired almost as the no. 2 person for Ginny Butler, who directs the paper’s new digital studio.
Ginny has included me in most assignments, even though at first I had no idea what anyone was talking about. But she made sure that I was involved, calling shots and getting praise for my work.
She never doubted me. So I stopped doubting myself.
I still make mistakes, and when I do her response is, “I’m constantly learning, too.”
As an intern, I knew the photography position was open, but I also knew I was underqualified for it since I had not taken a single photo course in college. I could manage the basics with an iPhone. But a DSLR camera was foreign to me, and I had no experience with a switchboard and live TV controls. But as I worked with Ginny in the studio and developed my visual eye, she saw talent in me that I couldn’t see. She and others knew about gaps in my knowledge and still-photography skills. Still, editors offered me the photography position, and I happily accepted.
They know I have a lot to learn about video and reporting stories. But they believe in me and see my value. They see what they can learn from me and how the potential I’ve shown can add to the newsroom.
Sometimes, it takes other people to see our strengths before we can recognize them. In my case, these observant people, by encouraging and challenging me, helped me find my passion. They pointed me toward success and gave me the push I needed to make a jump for it.
Some of us are born with these people in our lives already. We just have to look for them. I’m thankful I did.
My mentors from my internship now carry over into what is my first full-time job out of college. It is rewarding to make the transition to the familiar environment of my hometown newspaper.
I am proud to tell people I work for the Democrat and Chronicle.
I am thankful to have been given a chance to prove myself.
I am grateful to have many mentors who believe in me and encourage me to believe in myself.
So to you, my many mentors who have helped me to get where I am today: Thank you.