To give you a little bit of background on me and how I got started in my IT career back in 2002. As a recent college graduate with little to no experience and only armed with a bachelor degree in Management Information Systems, I thought the job offers were going to be plentiful for me to choose from just by applying. Little did I know that it was not as easy as listing the fact that I had a piece a paper showing that I could learn and pass tests. After just a few months of job searching, I was made aware of an essential skill that I would need if I were to progress. It was the fact that to get anywhere in my future career that I would have to start networking and building relationships.

A friend of mine who worked at the Fremont Hotel & Casino, as a banquet supervisor, reached out to me letting me know that he wanted to introduce me to someone who might be able to help me get into an IT position. The person he had me meet with was the cage cashier manager. I thought to myself, how is she going to help get me into IT??? Not having any success on my own trying to land a job I decided to meet with her and hear what she had to tell me. It turns out that she had become good friends with the manager of the helpdesk for Boyd Gaming. What she was offering me was a position to work for her in the cage, and after six months, she would help me apply for a transfer to the corporate helpdesk. The catch was that there was no guarantee as to when or if there would be an open position once I was eligible, and she would be taking note of my work ethic and personality.

I decided to take a chance on the offer and start my position as a cage cashier. It couldn’t be harder than my current job, which was working at my dad’s company doing masonry work. I kept a constant eye on the internal job postings, and after just eight months as a cashier, there was an opening at the helpdesk. True to her word, the cage manager helped me apply for the transfer and gave a great reference based on my work ethic and personality. I was scheduled for an interview during which I was able to convey to Theresa, the helpdesk manager, that I would be a good fit for the position. She felt confident enough that I would be able to do well in the role and decided to hire me and be able to prove her right.

The lessons learned here are something that I feel cannot be stressed enough. First, take the time to make and grow your personal and professional network of contacts because you never know when they might be able to help you out. However, don’t build these relationships for the sole purpose of trying to get ahead. Next, always work hard no matter what the task at hand. People will take notice of your work ethic, and it goes a long way towards building your reputation. Lastly, there will be times when you feel like nothing is going in your favor. Be persistent and never give up. I believe that life like baseball is a game of failure. Most of the time, things won’t go your way just because you want them to. It’s how you handle those failures and learn from them that will help you grow as a person and a professional.