I’m a hustler baby, I just want you to know. That particular Jay-Z lyric has always spoken to me. Hustling is how I’ve got past rejection; turning what would otherwise have been negative experiences into learning opportunities. Without hustling, I wouldn’t be where I am today: living in Manhattan, reporting on topics that I’m truly passionate about at a leading national business news network.
One day, out of the blue, a friend sent me a link for an audition to host MTV Canada. At that point I was working as an IBM sales specialist, having earned my undergraduate degree in business. I was successful in sales and liked my job but it just didn’t provide the same thrill I got from performing onstage.
Throughout my childhood I competed in public speaking competitions (I still remember the first line of my grade 6 speech: “Our world today, what have we done”). I loved the rush of presenting in front of an audience, and thrived on the pressure that came with needing to deliver. Entertainment news would not have been my first choice, but I figured there was nothing to lose from going to the audition.
“I figured there was nothing to lose from going to the audition.”
Calling in sick, I hopped on an overnight bus to Toronto. As a typical Canadian, I got ready in the bathroom of a Tim Hortons, Canada’s equivalent to Dunkin’ Donuts, before walking to the audition. I had thought the ten-minute audition went well, but two weeks later an email arrived saying that I just wasn’t the quite right fit. My heart sank. But a line at the end of his email struck a chord: “Personally I think you have what it takes to make it in this [broadcast] industry.”
That small bit of encouragement was all I needed. A month later another news producer randomly called to say he had come across my headshot from the rejected MTV pile and wanted to see a demo reel of my work. I had nothing of the sort, but needed no more encouragement to realize this was the career I should be pursuing.
“Fast forward to now: Doing the job I love in one of the most influential and dynamic cities of the financial world.”
Fast forward to now: Doing the job I love in one of the most influential and dynamic cities of the financial world. I am now a business and economics reporter for Fox Business Network in New York City. It’s an incredibly varied job, and entails filing live reports, filling in as anchor or weighing in as a panelist for shows throughout the day on Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel and Fox Radio.
I have covered a diverse range of topics, from current trade disputes at the White House to international diplomatic affairs at the United Nations headquarters. I even spent a week wading through flood waters while covering Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas. Exciting and fast paced, my job keeps me on my toes—I must constantly keep up to date on news and research all hours of the day, always hustling to make sure I have the insight in to every breaking story.
Hustling might not be for everyone. There’s been a few [hard] lessons along the way. Firstly, don’t be scared to fail. Fear of rejection is a poor reason for missing out on life’s big opportunities.
“By the time graduation came I had applied to over 50 positions and fellowships and had been rejected from the vast majority.”
During high school, I trained as a dancer and was rejected from countless auditions. Either I was too fat, too slow, or just didn’t have the right look. But it taught me to be resilient, and to keep at it. I applied this ethos to journalism school. By the time graduation came I had applied to over 50 positions and fellowships, and had been rejected from the vast majority.
But I had managed to land a small local gig across the country and worked my way up from there to a national news and business channel in Canada. I still remember my first reporter TV story—it was about a women’s shelter that had run out of baby diapers.
Secondly, if things aren’t working for you, then don’t be scared to change it up. Whether it’s your career path or the city you live in, don’t let yourself languish in a situation that isn’t working for you. I didn’t want to work from a cubicle in a tech sales job, so I quit my job, moved to another city and went to journalism school. I did it again a few years later when deciding to pursue an MBA.
I left a great job as a reporter for a Canadian business network because I wanted international experience, connections, and a stronger economic background to stand out as a business journalist. I put myself in debt and uprooted my life to a foreign country with no guarantee of a job. All I knew was that I eventually wanted to work in the “big leagues” a.k.a. New York City.
And thirdly, ask for help. People often cite pride or shyness as reasons for not reaching out to others. But I cannot stress strongly enough that asking others for help at a time of need can be the most beneficial thing you do. For example, I was determined to enter the US broadcast market after completing my MBA in the UK. I had emailed dozens of people who work in US television without success.
Eventually, I tried messaging a US anchor on Twitter. As an anchor for a national US network I assumed that while he would have the connections I needed, he would most likely ignore me. Luckily he didn’t and put me in touch with Fox Business. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, and that perfect job may be just an email or a tweet away.