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Lessons at Lunch

Lessons at Lunch

Submitted By Jonathan Winston | I’m currently an intern with the good people of Folk Alliance International.  On the job, I’m regularly helping other coworkers with their tasks as I respond swiftly and diligently to daily tasks, which can be anything from mailing letters to potential donors to organizing excel spreadsheets.  I have two direct bosses named Leah Watts and Jennifer Roe, both of whom it’s been a great pleasure to work with.  I work with seven others in an open office setting, in which we can all both see and communicate with each other.  I interact with all of my coworkers daily, regardless of their department or esteem within the organization. I discovered Hire KC Youth through a very inspiring academic advisor, who I’ve visited and thanked for plugging me into the program and for being the consummate professional in my dealings with him. I’m currently a student enrolled at the University of Kansas in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in public administration, which I plan to use to further enhance my role as a full-time public servant within the capacity of city management.

During my professional career, I have obtained an Associates in Arts degree (liberal arts) as well as a certificate in the trade of Industrial Maintenance.  I treasure the experience of making others smile through volunteering and by expressing my sense of humor.  I truly believe in the power of speaking outcomes (failure or success) into existence.  I also believe in the power of being the change you wish to see in the world and in demonstrating that transformation through action more than words, whether on or off the job.

This is my story.

Lessons at Lunch

It was only the first week into my internship.  I was out at lunch with a coworker of mine named Jarod, and delicious barbecue (burnt ends on a bun, specifically) was the day’s meal of choice.  Of course, at this exact point in our dealings with one another, we weren’t exactly sure how the other came to his current destination in either of our respective careers, so that was the topic of discussion.  In hearing his stories about his time as an urban planner and architectural engineer, I gained invaluable insight.  Jarod spent time working with bureaucrats of various levels of distinction, designing layouts that superiors would scrutinize through a complicated approval process.

He told me about times that he shadowed a city manager, and about his connections to city officials that could prove valuable to me when considering my career plot.  It was at this time that something hit me, as a numbing but exhilarating feeling took over my mood.  The combination of hard work, learning, soul searching, and patience that it took to get to even this point in my young career all suddenly culminated in one indescribable emotion.

When he told me about the connections he has in city management, which is the field I’m pursuing, I could virtually see my horizons opening. This made success in my personal and professional life seem more tangible than maybe ever before.   Certain common clichés explaining the importance of networks suddenly crystallized. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” they say.

While of course I don’t agree with not knowing anything, the importance of networking was, at that moment, clear as day.  I could see endless possibilities around the corner.



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