Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God
Brashness, in moderation, is a wonderful gift. When applied at the right time, lives change.
Your abrasive tone, condescending voice, full of pep, worked wonders one humid day in Harrisonburg, Va. I sat in my car, drenched in viscous sweat, nervous like the first time I lost. … control. Ten hours ago I was driving from Northern Virginia to visit a buddy of mine at James Madison University. Twenty minutes ago I had your phone number in my VCU inbox:
a— p—– here….you can call me at 301-xxx-xxxx
That’s all you wrote. The first letter of my name wasn’t even capitalized. I dialed and you answered. I had a few questions to ask you about my career path. My behemoth dreams to someday work for the worldwide leader in sports alongside you and your staff were overtly naive. How did you start? What must I do?
Do you have any internships under your belt? No? You better go get them. Journalism doesn’t fall on your lap, son!
At least you called me “son.” You spanked me over the phone, the exact opposite of what I expected. Thank you for not babying me. Journalism does not fall on one’s lap, you were correct. What was I thinking; how dare my inexperienced a– ask if there were any immediate openings at 980?
I heeded your insight. I did exactly what you advised me to do. During the summer of 2012, I applied for two internships at VCU. Fortuitously or not, I ended up landing a spot with The Blacksheep Journal and The Commonwealth Times as a satire writer and a sports features writer, respectively. I conducted interviews and reached out to VCU’s student-athletes. One pole vaulter. The founder of the university’s first-ever club football team. A volleyball team captain, Annett Farkas. She made the issue’s front cover, but after picking up the paper she texted me later, saying how much she loathed the feature.
Funny thing is, I emailed her my final draft before sending the piece to my editor(s). Farkas thoroughly enjoyed the rough draft. But after my editors tweaked the narrative and published the piece for circulation, they had altered too much material. My mentor at the time, who you’ll read about soon in these You’re Far Too Kind series, recommended me not to “burn bridges with him.” I obeyed.
She, my adviser, assured me everything would be fine. So I held my tongue and the lead sports editor decided not to assign me with another project until I reached out to the chief-editor if I could interview the pole vaulter.
Moreover, I am still on the path and humbly walking the steps that you told me to take.
Taking the high road made all the difference.