The Worst Job

In college and high school, I took some random jobs that were not exactly “life changing-fill your soul up” kind of jobs. The goal was to get money to save for college expenses. And because of that I came out of college (twice) with zero debt. Well these random jobs and applying for every scholarship I was eligible for did that.

Last night I was reminded of one of my least favorite jobs I had in college.

The dreaded alumni phone-a-thon.

I received a very sweet call from a current Clemson student who was basically trying to get me to give money to make “Clemson better.” I mean really why would some random student call me just to talk:  I don’t think so.

My heart went out to her because for one semester my freshman year of college, I was her.

We had a list of alumni that we had to call “begging” for their donation.

First of all, I hate phones.

Second, I hate conflict.

Third, how awkward is it to ask money from total strangers? For me, it was very awkward.

With my phone anxiety at the time, this really wasn’t the most ideal job. Honestly it was the worst.


image via

Our team would have competitions to see who could gather the most donations each night. Surprise that I never one. I called it a successful night if I didn’t have someone yell at me for interrupting their dinner. There was one lady who yelled at me because her son had passed away (who was the alum) and to stop harassing her. Information noted and updated…

Every call I made, I had a pit in my stomach expecting the worst conversation of my life. A little dramatic but did I say that this was the worst job for me?

There were a few successes. I did get to have some lovely conversations with people who were education majors or were also in band like me. People like to talk about commonalities you know. My biggest donation was I think $100, and I about fell out of my chair in shock. I also did make a few friends who were in the trenches with me on the calls.

This was not the greatest job for me because of the anxiety of pissing people off and not seeing them face to face (not that I really want to see someone who I have pissed off face to face, but you get the idea). It was however the beginning of my introduction into Student Affairs. I did learn a lot about how institutions function. It also provided me with perspective from Alumni that I would never have seen otherwise. It helped me come out of my shell a little bit, and I worked through some of my cold call phone anxiety. But it is something I would never voluntarily do again.

So when this young woman called me last night, I couldn’t help but feel for her. I didn’t want to be that person who caused her anxiety or hung up on her. Because I had been in her shoes, I knew as soon as she started talking that she was going to get my money. I have donated every year, but when you get the call it does become more personal. I didn’t do it out of guilt, but more out of camaraderie because I had been a fellow phone-a-thoner. And I gave more than I usually do because I know on the back end how that will feel for her. I hope she continued to have a pleasant night.

So note to my Alma Maters, call me every year and you for sure will get my support. Because I am a sucker.

It does feel good to give back to your schools, especially since I was given so much through the experiences there. It is my small way of trying to help someone else have those “life changing-fill your soul up” experiences too.

I will say, Central needs to step up their game. I have never received a call from them or any emails about donations. And my phone and email have not changed high school. What has happened since I have been there?

Anyway, Go Tigers and Go Mules!

Do you give back to your Alma Maters? What was your worst job?

Combining Passions

I have really tried to be more positive with my work and find different ways to feel fulfilled with my current employment.

One of the ways I have done that is asking/seizing small opportunities to bring some of my outside hobbies into the work place.

I have talked about how I love bulletin boards which has allowed me to bring some creativity, even if in small doses to my job. I love love love cutting out and decorating boards. This is the elementary school major coming out in me. (That was about the only thing I liked about being an elementary school major, which is the reason why I promptly changed after the first semester to secondary education.)

Another hobby/passion of mine is photography. I have always been fascinated by capturing moments in time. Memories, glimpses of life, emotions, so much can be expressed in one shot.

I can still remember my parents getting me a camera when I was 5 that had the disposable flashbulbs. I took pictures of everything. I mean literally everything-flowers, vases, tables, bed spreads, dog hair, you name it I had a picture of it. I also cut off everyone’s head when I took their picture at this age.

(I promise I have improved from the head cutting off stage.)

I really started learning the art of photography in high school where I worked on the school publications. There I learned the technical things about composition, lighting, editing (although much has changed since then), and my favorite place -the dark room. We shot on manual film, and to me one of the greatest moments is to watch film develop right before your eyes. And you feel pretty cool taking the film of the reel in complete darkness.

I stayed away from photography as a major in college outwardly because I did not think that I could afford all the “stuff.” But inwardly, I didn’t think I could measure up in the digital age we were coming into. So I shied away and stuck to “point and shoots” that could fit in my back pocket.

Luckily, the art has recently come back full-force when Tom and I decided to take the plunge and invest in a wickedly nice set up (camera, lights, tripod, lenses, etc…). It has always been a dream of mine to open my own studio, and my hands down dream job would be to be a sports photographer. Slowly we are creating a base for this to occur, but that is another topic for another day.

So a passing comment at work about someone needing to be in charge of capturing a shot at the opening office BBQ turned into a wonderful opportunity for me to combine my passions.

Education Photographer. (Yeah? I think it works.)

I have become the office picture lady. We have many more than a “shot” on hand now of our office activities. They may have gotten more than they bargained for by letting me run with this.

It has been really fun to find a way to be more involved outside of my spreadsheets and emails. And I am developing my photography all the same. (There has been somewhat of a learning curve going to a completely digital system.)

We just had our annual Wheelchair Basketball game, and I was giddy to be on the sidelines clicking away. This may be my favorite photographer moment I have had ever to date. It was cathartic for several reasons.

  1. I had that sports photography going.
  2. Basketball is my favorite sport.
  3. Working with this population is always a humbling experience for me. I felt honored to hear their stories and capture their strength and determination.
  4. It was the moment that I realized that I was going to do just fine here. I felt energy again; it was like electricity running through my veins. I was pumped to be doing what I am doing. I finally thought, “This isn’t so bad. I’m not so awful at this transition.” Part-time failure freak out over with.

Boom. It feels good to feel needed.

These are just a few of the several hundred shots I sifted through.




One of my favorite shots of the night.








I had so much fun.

So I would tell everyone who may be struggling to find small ways to find joy again. You will quickly see how that joy will flood over into other things.