Independence Day Post: Why I Said ‘No’ to Harvard – Twice

flag 3In honor of Independence Day I wanted to share this inspirational post about a recent decision I made to continue to blaze my path and control my destiny, despite external forces trying to side track me from getting to my destination.

And more importantly I wish you all a Happy and Safe Independence Day!

Recently, presented to me (was what I thought) an amazing opportunity to work at a well-known establishment, Harvard Medical School. When my consulting business had slowed down back in the winter, I signed up with a “creative agency” for some freelance work. The next day, the agency called and sent me an offer to work at Harvard. The agency told me I should apply for the social media-related position. I said “No”.

As a kid, when I played softball the first thing the coaches, my Dad & Grandfather always said to me was:

“When you get up to the plate, never swing at the first pitch.”

For no other reason than that, I declined and waited to see what other “pitches” they would “throw” my way.

A few months down the line, the agency called to persuade me to apply for a job opportunity at Harvard Medical School. I was hesitant from the start, a 3 hour round-trip commute seemed a bit much. The more I discussed this opportunity with others, they said, “Go for it. That is a great name to have on your resume.” Presented as a 6-week opportunity I thought “How bad could it be?” If I hated it, in 6 weeks I could walk away.

I said “Yes”, they said “Yes”, and I found myself working there a week-and-a-half later.

My First – and Only – Day On The Job:
As soon as my hour-and-a-half training ended, I knew it wasn’t going to work out. Call it ‘gut instinct’ or ‘muscle memory,’ but I quickly realized I didn’t want to work in a corporate environment – again. There were many similarities between this environment and my previous one. The one I took a severance package from to launch my business and control my career path. In addition, many red flags popped up that made me realize it would not work out.

I went home, talked to my husband and contacted the agency the next day and said I was terminating my assignment. This agency for “creative professionals” is really just a temp agency with a nice name.

Motivation - Billboard on the Sunrise Background.

Many other factors came into play with how I came to my decision. I knew:

  • I value myself more than the people who had put me in the position. To the agency I was a number on the bottom line and to the school I was a body to fill an opening until they could find “a professional” to permanently fill the slot.
  • I have more self-esteem than sitting at a desk in a hallway, on a makeshift workstation labeled “Intern 2”, drafting Tweets in Microsoft Word as I waited for my next assignment.
  • I deserved more respect than the fallout from the temp agency representative when I called to end the contract.
  • I realized it would only hinder and hold me back. From the start there was no possibility to extend the opportunity beyond 6 weeks. They had already posted the full-time position before I set foot in the office. It really was a round peg in a square hole.
  • So I walked away with my pride, my happiness and my self-respect. And yes, I said ‘No’ to Harvard.

    Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, on the value statements, I created for myself based on this learning situation.

    Self Esteem Concept on Blue in Flat Design.