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Rock Street, San Francisco

Just
a few months after getting hired as an executive assistant, I found myself
still trying to familiarize myself with what we did as company at a small
advertising firm.  My position was new
and as the first person to occupy it, and I wanted to prove that I could make a
significant impact to my company. My boss, the president of the company,
offered me a chance to do just that when he called me into his office one
morning. The reason I had been hired was that while my boss was smart and great
with coming up with ideas to further the interest of the company, he wasn’t
great at staying on track or meeting deadlines. I understood my role would be more
than answering calls and scheduling, but I never anticipated this. As I walked
into his office, he asked me if I could help with an important project that
would be an additional revenue source for the company. As a small political
advertising firm that made majority of their profit in the ten months leading
up to the election every two years, I understood having and additional revenue
source outside of that meant big things for firm. As he started explaining the
project, everything he mentioned immediately went over my head. He described in
great technical detail how he wanted to create software that would scrub
political spending files and organize them in a database that could be used to
create datasets and visuals. He knew I had no familiarity with software
development and no technical experience, he knew I had gained very limited
knowledge about advertising in my few months at company, but he had full
confidence that I could spear head this project. For the first time in my life
I felt like I had been set up to fail.

I
remember hesitating for a moment before telling him that this would be a great
learning experience. This was my first real job and I was eager to prove
myself, I was also completely unfamiliar with where to even begin. My first
step was to schedule a meeting with our tech advisor so he could explain the
rudimentary aspects of what a project like this would take. This new software
would need to be built from scratch, and would incorporate several existing
databases while having the ability to add systems that were yet to be created,
it would need to track spending across many mediums with options for expansion
in the future, and most importantly it would need to be done in a very limited
timeline and budget. Once completed, the software application would be
responsible for the tracking of millions of dollars in political spending by
every candidate and group in the country. The scope of the project was huge. I
understood that even without the full background required of it. A part of me
what yelling at me ‘Are you crazy? You don’t know the first thing about this!
You ware setting yourself up to fail!’ and yet…. I remember telling my boss
that this would be a great learning experience and I could not let fear of
failing hold me back.

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The
truth is – I love to learn, and in this moment of uncertainty that fact had not
changed. To me, the creation of this new software system was another chance to
gain more knowledge and understanding of a whole new interesting and innovative
field. This project was no small task, and the only way for me to succeed while
doing the rest of my job was to read, learn, and take classes all outside of
work. I realized this was the only way that I would overcome the steep learning
curve and learn the ins and outs of our existing systems. I would come in early
to work to discuss progress with our development team based in India, and most
of my lunch breaks were scheduled for meetings with my boss and tech advisor to
gain a better understanding of their needs for the software. Within two months,
the system that came to be called Pharos was ready for beta testing. One year
later it was an integral part of the services offered to our clients. Creating
this software was demanding and challenging work that required a great amount
of time and effort, but I can say that I enjoyed every minute of it.   

This
experience taught me that we are faced with challenges in life, big and small.

Many times we fear and are intimidated by the challenges while other times we
face them with eager determination. Looking back at the choices that have
brought me to this point in my life, I like to thing that I choose second
category. I have fear and self-doubt like many people, but I know my
determination to learn and succeed will always give me strength and support
against any challenges I face. Like any significant challenges in life, a
career in law is intimidating, but with great determination it is a challenge I
eagerly accept.

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