After a Challenging 18 Months, Argosy University Organizational Leadership Graduate Jess Fink Creates Her Own Luck
Over the past 18 months, Jess Fink has experienced her fair share of setbacks and successes.
In July of last year, she was laid off from a job she loved after seven years. Since then, she has held three other full-time jobs—including a stint as assistant manager for a retail store—all while attending college full time.
But while Fink’s career path has had its detours, she says that focusing on her education helped her maintain her balance—and her perspective.
“It hasn’t always been easy,” she says. “After I lost my job, I was depressed. Looking for work can be a full-time job, and it’s especially hard when you’re also going to school full time. I ended up having to retake a few classes because there was just too much going on.”
But Fink, a West Virginia native who now lives in Pittsburgh, persisted. While she was completing her B.S. in Business Administration (with a concentration in Marketing) from Argosy University, she was accepted into the school’s Masters Acceleration Program. In August, she completed her M.S. in Organizational Leadership—with a 3.9 GPA.
“Being an online student at Argosy gave me the flexibility I needed at a time when my work schedules were unpredictable and often out of my control,” Fink says. “As frustrating as it was to work at jobs I didn’t love, I did what I had to do to keep things going. School was my saving grace. It kept me organized and motivated, and it also reminded me that I was preparing myself for better things.”
Shortly before graduating, and right around the time Fink and her husband were moving into a home they’d just purchased, she received a call from a recruiter who had seen her LinkedIn profile. She told Fink about a project manager position at Alcoa. After two rounds of interviews, Fink was optimistic and was convinced the job would be a perfect fit.
When she received a call telling her she had not been selected, she was disappointed. But she was also determined to learn as much as she could from the experience, so she decided to send a follow-up email to the hiring manager who had interviewed her.
“I figured I had nothing to lose,” Fink says. “I just thanked her for considering me, and asked what I could do to become a better candidate in the event the position were to become available again.”
Fortunately for Fink, she didn’t have to wait long for an answer. A week later, as she and her husband were driving home to Pittsburgh from her Argosy commencement ceremony in Washington, D.C., Fink received an unexpected call from the recruiter.
“The follow-up email I sent to the Alcoa hiring manager apparently struck a chord,” says Fink. ”When the recruiter told me they had just called to offer me another project manager position, I couldn’t believe it! It was such perfect timing, and a great way to end my graduation trip.”
Fink has been at her new job as a project manager for three weeks, and says she’s never been happier.
“Working for a company I respect, in a position that allows me to use my skills and education, is such a great way to end the year,” she says. “I’ve experienced a lot of change—and a lot of personal growth—over the past 18 months. I’ve learned that you have to stay in the game if you want to win it. You also have to be willing to connect, build relationships, put yourself out there, and risk rejection. If I hadn’t sent that follow-up email, it’s very unlikely I’d have been hired for my new position. Sometimes you can create your luck without even realizing it.” ###