I waited to go to college until I had been out in the world for a little while, starting college at the age of 21. I was working as an assistant manager at the time in a luggage shop in a Branson, Missouri outlet mall when my manager noticed all of the books that I read and thought that I might like to take a class with the instructor who was teaching her introduction to literature class with a local community college, and I signed up just as an audit and fell in love with the academic culture and the knowledge I could acquire, regardless of class. I made the decision to start with my Associate of Arts degree in General Education to get my required courses out of the way, but what I wanted to study most was literature, which was primarily the courses I took while attending Ozarks Technical Community College. The instructors were patient, fair, and challenging despite the community college level, and while I was there I discovered another academic passion in history. Because I was committing myself to a full course-load I resigned from the assistant manager position in Branson and moved an hour north to Springfield, Missouri to be closer to the college and to find a job to work part-time, which I found in working for companies like MCI and Bass Pro. In these kinds of jobs and combined with my education commitments I developed a strong sense of commitment to efficiency and learning, both in the corporate world and in the academic world.
In between obtaining my Associate's and going to university study for my Bachelor's, I spent nearly a year back in Ohio helping my parents with their agricultural business, and then moved back to Missouri to pursue my Bachelor of Arts at what was then Southwest Missouri State University. I had performed well enough at Ozarks Technical to obtain scholarships at Southwest Missouri State, and thrived in classes at the university level. It was also at this time that I returned to Bass Pro Shops call center and made quick work of getting promoted to the corporate training instructor on the evening shift. Throughout the remainder of my college career I worked full time at Bass Pro and went to school full time double-majoring in literature and history until the final semester of my education at SMSU, at which point I decided to place full focus on my literary studies.
This blog owes a lot to my education at SMSU (which is now known as Missouri State University). I took my passion of the literary arts education and applied it to communicating effectively and inspirationally in all of my employment experiences, from Grainger to Bass Pro Shops, and to communicate in a way that would be effective to the greatest amount of people I was addressing, rather than just the highest-ranked of those I was addressing. Literature and history have taught me that the most effective communicator isn't the one with the biggest vocabulary--it's the one who uses the words he or she has to their greatest advantage. My goals in any position are to communicate the company's goals in an inspirational way to employees and customers alike, without losing them in the process.
In my next post I will talk about how I use my communication skills, and other technical skills, to do just that in a workplace situation.