Adversity, Grit And Turning No Into Yes

youth with umbrellas

Whenever you first begin to dive into the workforce it can be a scary thing, it is a whole new environment where you must rely on yourself to get things done and be the kind of worker managers want.

Whether it was a good or bad thing I grew up in a not so well off Chicano household meaning that if I wanted something that wasn’t a necessity I had to work for it myself. So growing up I had experience with small jobs like doing chores, babysitting, tutoring and other odd jobs I did as a kid. Even so, I was not fully prepared with the idea of growing and being responsible for keeping up with a job and going to school full time. Yet I knew getting a job was something I needed to do as I would learn many life skills and being a broke kid in college, I could use the money.

latino teen holding phone

Applying for jobs was something I did much of, but being so young and Chicano with no real experience meant people were reluctant to hire me or even give me an interview. That was until one day when I got an email from a retail store asking if I wanted to conduct an online interview. I immediately started looking up standard interview questions in order to prepare myself., and I conducted mock interviews with my family to get familiar with the answers I would give. After the online interview was over I felt exhausted. Being my first interview my worriedness took over and the answers I had repeated over and over never came to mind. Of course I did not get that job.

Although I felt defeated from the rejection I did not let that stop me from continuing to apply. I had applied to a couple of stores not really expecting to hear back from any when suddenly the next day I got a call asking if I wanted to come to the store and have an in person interview. Worried that the same thing might happen again I worked even harder to make sure this time was different. After my interview was over the manager interviewing me asked me the same day if I would like to work there Part-Time and being so overdue for a job I said yes with no almost no hesitation.

I had finally gotten my first real job!

The feeling of initial excitement and pride had hidden my feelings of anxiety and worry that would consume me on my first day. Never having a real job before I was curious as to what it would entail. Will it be one my best experiences ever, will it be one of my worst, will I even be any good? All were questions continuously circling my mind as I walked through those doors not as a customer but as an employee.

young man with many facial reactions

Working Was Completely Different Than I Expected (And That’s OK!)

Fast forwarding a couple months the experience I had working was completely different from what I expected, well it is more accurate to say that working was nothing like I had expected. As going into this new environment and not knowing anyone that had previously worked there I felt as if I was going in completely blind, so as I was experiencing all these new things it was nothing like I had previously known.

help Leveraging Co-Worker Experiences

It all felt so new and so each day felt like a different piece of knowledge was being added to my life’s puzzle. Especially with no one to lean on making sure I did a good job and keeping up with all my other responsibilities was something I knew I had to figure out. Often times my training was handled by an another employee that had already been there for a couple years which made me feel more uncomfortable as I knew they were much older. Many of my favorite co-workers consisted of those that were around my age group obviously.

person in leadership position Building My Own Experience, Creating My Success

After about a year I had gotten pretty good at handling difficult situations and being someone that others can rely upon. Therefore, when a position opened up for a more demanding role I offered myself as a candidate and stated reasons why I thought I would be a good fit. After a couple weeks of continuously proving myself capable of handling the more taxing role I was given the position.

Being offered that position felt like a big accomplishment to me at the time which made me feel very successful. To me, being successful never necessarily meant that you were super rich or had a high paying job at some fancy company. As long as you are continuously improving yourself, I feel validates the feeling of being successful.

A Vital Step In My Larger Journey

Ever since then I was always working to better myself and broaden my array of knowledge and skills, eventually I felt as though I had learned all I could from my first job and needed to gain some different experience. That was when I decided that in order to continue to grow I had to find something that would give me a brand new challenge in a new environment. After looking and applying for a couple months I received a job offer for a position I felt would challenge me in new ways so accepted the offer. So far I have only been at this position for a month but I have already learned so much. Though still being so young I do not know what lies ahead, only that with every challenge presented to me I will do what I have always done, and put my best foot forward to overcome it.

Luis Tapia

Luis Tapia

Luis Tapia. graduated from Taft Charter High School in 2020. Luis went straight to California State University Northridge. where he plans to graduate in spring 2024. Currently he lives in California and plan to stay here with most of his family. Luis is a first-generation college student, and wants to pursue a career in immigration law. Luis wants to help people who otherwise would not be able to fight for themselves. Luis feels that everyone in the United States deserves the same opportunities as people that are born there.