Words of Wisdom from my Boss

December 21, 2010

With just a little over a week left in the STAR Fellowship, I wish I had the time to calmly sit back and contemplate everything I’ve learned this semester.

Instead, I am frantically applying for just about every job opportunity that comes across my path.

It’s no secret that it’s a tough job market out there, and it can be a little disheartening to send my resume out time and again knowing I am likely just one of many hopefuls vying for the same coveted position.

But my experience with the STAR Fellowship position has made me all the more determined to start my career here in Washington DC. And the women who have become my role models over the past few months have taught me to be persistent and not to fear failure.

I have been lucky enough to be an intern in the office of the congresswoman I most admire. Of all the female members of Congress – though there aren’t as many as there ought to be – I was most interested in working for her because of her reputation as a “rising star.” Not only did she first run for – and win – elective office when she was just 25 years old, but she was chosen as Chief Deputy Whip and appointed to the powerful Appropriations Committee in her second term in the House.

In short, she’s a dynamite woman leader.

Because of who the Congresswoman is today, I assumed that she must have landed her first job with ease. Surely it was clear to whomever read her resume even right out of school that here was a future U.S. Representative.

So I was shocked when she told me, “I sent out 180 resumes and got 5 responses, 3 interviews, and one job.”

I doubt the Congresswoman knew the effect that this bit of information would have on me. Rather than dwelling on all the jobs she wasn’t offered, she accepted her only offer and did such impressive work that the state representative she worked for later encouraged her to run for his seat. She refused to be discouraged or let her belief in her own talents be shaken.

The congresswoman I work for didn’t need an abundance of job offers to reassure her that public service was the right choice for her. And nor do I. The STAR Fellowship has shown me how important it is that young women like myself to run for elected office, and all I need is one job offer to get me on the path to politics.

– Catherine B., Star Fellow Fall 2010

One response to “Words of Wisdom from my Boss”

  1. Dear Catherine,

    Your message is touching and as an aspiring candidate for 2012 general election here in Kenya and a vibrant advocate for women to rise to leadership even thou I am a man,gives me hope in the sense that soon our world will be peaceful and Prosperous because it’s through 70% of women in leadership in the world that the world shall Progress.

    I wish you the very best in your journey and Please do update me on your progress.

    Warm regards,

    Jared Akama Ondieki

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