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Your Stories Don’t Define You, How You Tell Them Will

Dec 17, 2019

When Eddie Wilders graduated from high school, all he knew was that he wanted to go to college. He didn’t know which college, or what programs he would be interested in, but he knew he wanted to be the first in his family to get a degree and do something different.

Eddie’s guidance counselor in high school was anything but, friendly and open, there for support, but did little to actually guide and help her students with important decisions.

He didn’t have any more success with that kind of guidance in college. When he was about to graduate with his Communications degree, rather than giving him some concrete ideas for jobs to apply for, his counselor said: “You can do just about anything with that degree!” And left it at that.

Eddie and I met in the comments section of a post on LinkedIn, asking about career advice. I responded to his comment on the post that I received plenty of decent career advice, but looking back now, none of it applied to me. All the advice I received was general, not specific to my tendency toward passionately learning something for a while, and then getting bored, self-sabotaging, and then switching jobs.

His questions and concerns were geared toward how he could guide his young daughters, since he didn’t receive useful guidance, and I immediately reached out to ask him about his experience and to record it for this episode.

Our conversation spanned from dressing appropriately for the job you want and for the environment you find yourself standing, to taking a trial and error approach in career decisions from early on. Eddie didn’t feel like he had the luxury of the trial and error system because all he knew was the experiences of his parents: Find a good job, get really good at it, and stick with it because it’s a good job and it pays.

Looking back now, he knows he wants his daughters to feel confident in trying different professional environments until they find one that feels right.

It’s always a pleasure to speak with someone with an important message, and Eddie shares one I’m sure most people can relate to, getting stuck in something because of the expectations and experiences of others.

Connect with Eddie on LinkedIn, and let him know what resonated with you about this episode!