You never know where your next opportunity is going to come from.

Coming off our Spring Career Fair I was surprised to see a student I had been working with to prepare an elevator pitch for employers looking for software developers.  He came into see me after the fair to discuss salary negotiations for what he had been offered.

He began to tell me the story.  Having arrived at the Career Fair just in time for early admittance. He had done his homework and knew exactly which employers he was going to interact with. Resumes ready he took his place in a rather long and rowdy queue waiting for his chance to talk to the company recruiter. While waiting in line he noticed another employer with no line waiting to talk to her.  He struck up a friendly conversation as a way to help alleviate the stress he was feeling about the Career Fair in general.  As the line moved slowly this student and the lonely recruiter continued their conversations with the student commenting on his attempts to brew beer at home.  What he thought went wrong with the first batch and how he was able to finesse the recipe until the taste, texture and color of the beer was to his liking.

Finally it was his turn to speak with the software recruiter, he spent about fifteen minutes talking with the man, picked up some paperwork and some swag and went on with his appointed rounds.  At the end of the day as he was cleaning out his back pack, emptying all of the stuff he had picked up at the Fair he noticed the business card of the woman he had spoken with while waiting.  He included her is the thank you notes he sent out to the people he spoke to that day.

Within the week he heard back from the lonely recruiter, she was there representing Gallo Wines and wanted to offer him a summer internship paying $19.00 dollars and a $500 a month housing allowance.  She had listened very carefully as he spoke of his own brewing experience including the level of detail he used to describe his brewing protocols.  He came in to talk about whether he should even consider this offer since he went in looking for software developer and was going to end up working for a business that produces millions of barrels of wine a year.

Had he stumbled onto his future or was this just a lucky fluke?  He wrestled with the fact that he was trained in a very competitive major and was he ready to do a complete turn around and go for the internship for the summer?  He kept talking about how exciting it would be to be working outdoors, in wineries, and in the vintner’s lab.  When I asked him about the other conversations he had that day with the employers who were hiring for a specific degree.  He had a hard time remembering much of what was discussed.

When I asked the question, “What do you think happened today?” He started to see what was very clear to me and that was that he had nothing to lose by taking this internship. He still had a couple of years left to complete his degree so this one summer away from “doing the right thing” might be a good idea.

He walked out of my office with a grin a mile wide, had he stumbled on his future…maybe. What do you think?


Blog Written by Lily Maestas, Career Counselor. Lily will be retired in June 2016 after over 30 years of service to UCSB!