I told them I would be playing professional basketball. It should be noted that I had just *not* played my senior year of school — at a small school that produces zero pro athletes, no less — so there was absolutely nothing in my orbit that said “professional basketball player”. My mother, an educator herself, was incredulous.
“You just got a college degree! You need an apartment, and a car, you need a JOB! If you like basketball so much (she took a short pause for an idea)… join a men’s league or something! And you need a haircut!” (I had cornrows at the time).
My father was not much involved in the conversation, except for when my mother paused for air and asked if he agreed.
“Yeah.” (Insert Tony Robbins’ the-person-who-is-most-certain-influences-the-other anecdote here — perfect example).
My father added, “You can post your resume on sites like Monster and CareerBuilder, and stuff like that.”
Since anger and competition are two of my biggest triggers of motivation, that conversation pretty much guaranteed that I would become a professional basketball player. But it wasn’t a smooth transition. I did have to work a few “careers” in-between that after-college talk and finding my “success”. And that’s not even why I wrote this.
I never had a good feeling about Monster.com, so I never used it. The coincidental thing about CareerBuilder is I actually did get jobs from it. Assistant Manager at Foot Locker. Membership sales (and eventually, Assistant Sales Manager) at Bally Total Fitness. Overnight Shift Manager at some supermarket (the lowest of lows). Membership sales at Town Sport International via Philadelphia Sports Clubs. So my dad was actually right.
But every single time I logged into that site, I felt like I was selling myself short. Like I was turning my back on the real me. Like I was settling for pennies when there was a million dollars to be had just a few steps away.
Like a small part of me was dying every time.
Every job alert email. Every time I put my business casual clothes on to go to an interview (even though I did need the money and a car and to move out of my parents’ house ASAP; and was actually getting the jobs). Every time I think about the regional manager at Foot Locker who told me, after I made clear to him that I needed a higher salary after 6 months working there, that I needed to be patient: “Look Dre, this is a career.”
Over ten years later, the phrase Career Builder still disgusts me to this very day. Not because I didn’t build a career — I have, just not from there — but because I knew I wasn’t being me. Because I felt like I was in a box. Because I felt I was settling for being like everyone else. And it literally made me sick to my stomach.
This post isn’t made to influence you to hate CareerBuilder — I’ll reiterate that it actually worked for me! It served its purpose. But that purpose, I knew from the beginning, was not my purpose. And I knew I wouldn’t be happy until I found my purpose, in my way of doing it.
I smile a lot now. And, for the record: Fuck CareerBuilder.com.