A Fresh Start

I’ve been keeping a secret from all of you. But there’s a back story I want to tell first.

Y’all know I worked at Half Price Books. Y’all also know I quit that job in search of something better. Y’all know I haven’t been quite as successful in my job search as I’d have liked. But y’all don’t know I accepted an offer a month ago.

In December I interviewed with a highly respected and very well known company. It’s a company I firmly believe shares my values and encourages inclusiveness and diversity at every level of the company. People say a lot of things about millennials, of which most are patently false. But I know this is one that’s widely true. Young people want to work for a company that shares their values, and I’m no different.

I spent a Friday afternoon taking various tests for the position I applied for. Then interviewed the following Friday. After months of interviews with different companies and law enforcement agencies, this interview was the longest and most conversational. I didn’t feel like I was being interrogated.

They said I’d get a response after about three weeks once all interviews were completed. I got the answer I was hoping for. My first day is today.

I know no two experiences are identical. And I’ll be the first to acknowledge that I’m fortunate to have found a position within such a great company. But so often I see people essentially giving up. Sometimes they’ll blame the economy or they’ll blame politicians or they’ll blame themselves. I could have done ALL of those. I believe in December the unemployment rate among college graduates was less than 3%. Underemployment was slightly higher, but I wasn’t underemployed. I was unemployed. I could have lashed out. I could have let the months of not knowing really get to me.

But I didn’t. I kept applying. I kept reviewing my resumé to make sure it was polished. I kept interviewing with companies from all kinds of industries. But most importantly I kept believing in myself. And that’s what I’d tell someone in a similar position. Believe in yourself. Be confident. Be open-minded. Be true to you.

Today I start what I hope will be a long journey with a company I’m proud to work for. And not everyone gets such an opportunity.

I’ve had plenty of encouragement from a number of people on here when I’ve written about my job search. It is ALWAYS appreciated.

Also, I’ve posted every day of 2017! Ayye!


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A Year After Graduation: My progress

One year ago today my name was announced as I walked across the stage at the Spring Commencement of the University of Houston Downtown. Before we get into what I’ve done in the 365 days since that wonderful day, let me tell you all a little about it.

I woke up extremely early. Around six. Guys, this may be regular for some of you, but I do not EVER wake up this early. I ate a rather large breakfast because the ceremony wasn’t set to begin for another four hours, and then I wouldn’t get to eat for several more after that. Then I did the only thing I could. I got ready.

About five hours later the name John Raymond Guillen, Cum Laude, was announced. I know this happens a gazillion times every year in America, but I came so close to crying on stage in front of about 1,000 graduates and like 20,000 friends and family members. It wasn’t because it was unexpected. Or because I was the first of eight siblings to make it to this day. It was simply because I’d done it. I had maybe 25-30 family members and a few friends there for me. But only three friends went to our little lunch get together afterward, and I told them I’d never forget that they were there. Because it turned into a 13-14 hour day for everyone involved. Mercedes, I love you. Grant and Nathan, same goes for you guys.

I didn’t cry during the ceremony. Or before. It wasn’t until I started reading all the graduation cards I’d gotten that I finally did. I was graduating from college and it was writing that got me to cry. Now let’s see what I’ve done since then.

I wrote a book

This is definitely something to be proud of. The day I received my author proof is still probably the second best day of my life. Behind graduation up there. And the only things that could even come close to it that may be happening within the next decade or so are my wedding day, getting an agent, and getting a publishing contract.

I started a blog

Starting a blog isn’t significant in itself, it’s the people I’ve met from blogging. You all might think I’m crazy, but I seriously love you all. Did I ever think I’d be approaching 1,000 followers, ever? No. Did I ever think I’d talk to so many great people just about everyday? No. I could name like ten of you guys who I thoroughly enjoy talking to, but I don’t want to embarrass anyone. BUT I want to name one. Mahrukh. Oh my goodness. Could you imagine if I’d never started a blog? Then I wouldn’t have found yours. Then we wouldn’t talk. I mean, it’s almost scary. I’m lucky. And so are you. 🙂

But that’s it. I wanted to have so much more by the time this day arrived. I was supposed to have my second book written by January 1. I was supposed to finish writing my current WIP and have another book written by the time 2014 came to an end. I was supposed to be working toward getting an agent by now. But I’m not. And I don’t think I have the time to write another book once I finish the one I’m working on. And I don’t know anything about agents or query letters or anything.

I’m not going to sit here and act like I’m completely disappointed with myself. I’m not. I just wanted more from the last 365 days than I’ve gotten. I need to get with it. And soon. I don’t want 2014 to end up being the year of accomplishing nothing.

I’ll leave you with some pictures.

ImageImage

ImageImageNow I need some words of encouragement from you guys.