#ChargeOn into the New Year

Really? The Knights are in the Fiesta Bowl and you got time to read this blog post? Pick up some Tostitos and salsa, get to a viewing party and scream your lungs out. Making your winter break productive can wait until tomorrow. When you do wake up tomorrow afternoon start working on your FASFA. The form will be due before you know it. Get it out of the way before classes start.

Failure Competition Finalist Three

It is time to select the winner of this semester’s learning from failure competition. We have selected three finalists. We will feature one of them each of the next three days and then have a vote on Thursday to pick a winner. Last semester we had over 800 votes. The winner should be the story that inspired you the most and gave you the best insight into what failure teaches about success. Thanks to all the participated! The winner will get a letter from me about their story to show potential employers. Here is the third entry:

Haley Huitt

Before I became a student at UCF I was a student at a smaller college a couple hours away. I wanted to get my AA degree there and then transfer to UCF afterwards. Back then I used to push myself to the limit. I had two jobs and on top of that was going to school full time. I also had a boyfriend and a dog to keep happy. It never seemed to catch up to me. I was indestructible. I ignored the fact that I was losing sleep and harming my health.

After I finished my AA Degree I moved to Orlando. I don’t know how but the next thing I know I had two jobs and was signed up for two classes at UCF. I didn’t know what UCF classes were like so I only took two to be on the safe side. My restaurant employer asked if I would be able to handle this huge work load. I said of course, not a problem! I was used to it. I would work from 5:30am to 2pm at that job and then rush home to let my dog outside. Then I would go to my second job from 3pm to 9pm. Eventually, I fell behind in my classes. These classes were so much more intense than the classes back home. I kept telling my restaurant employer that I couldn’t work as many hours. Initially, I was told that I would only be working 32 hours a week. However, they were working me about 50 hours a week and on top of that were working me like a dog. I had not one, not two, but six positions because the company was short staffed. They didn’t allow me to have a break because usually I was the only one working. I would be so exhausted from that job that I would be fighting to stay awake at my other job. After a while, the manager wouldn’t schedule someone to relieve me until 5pm. So basically I was stuck there until 5. They didn’t care that I had a second job and most importantly, lectures to watch. Honestly, I just left at 2pm most days and left the restaurant empty. I wanted to quit both jobs so badly but I couldn’t. The second shift job hired me first and I felt that I had to be loyal to that company, especially since they needed the extra help. I definitely couldn’t quit the restaurant job because I was making so much money. In the end, I got really sick and had to go to the hospital. I had to quit both jobs and was unable to pay my bills. I had to stay home for a few months just so I could recover. I didn’t think I was ever going to find a job and be able to finish school. This was a personal failure to me because I couldn’t be perfect and do everything I wanted. It was really hard for me to get over.

The first lesson here is to not push yourself to the extreme. My health issues from the last few years have progressed tremendously. It has made a huge impact on my daily activities. I am constantly in and out of the doctor’s office because I didn’t take care of myself. School has always been my main priority, but in some cases it can’t always be. It doesn’t matter if you graduate with a 4.0 if you are constantly sick. After calling off work or going home early from your job too many times will cause you to lose your job. I may not be graduating on time but I am finally getting there! The second lesson I’ve learned is to not settle for a crummy job. If your employer is running you into the ground you should not have to put up with it. Something good will come along eventually. No one deserves to be treated the way I was at my job in the restaurant. My advice is to have some respect for yourself and to never give up! Something good will come along eventually. Even though it took a little time, I found a great job where I have started to grow with. I’ve already been promoted and will be promoted again after I graduate! Patience is the key to success!

Failure Competition Finalist One

It is time to select the winner of this semester’s learning from failure competition. We have selected three finalists. We will feature one of them each of the next three days and then have a vote on Thursday to pick a winner. Last semester we had over 800 votes. The winner should be the story that inspired you the most and gave you the best insight into what failure teaches about success. Thanks to all the participated! The winner will get a letter from me about their story to show potential employers. Here is the first entry:

Student: Steven Bostel

Around 5 years ago my girlfriend (now my wife) went back to school to become a certified esthetician, which is someone who performs skincare treatments based on their unique skin types. I encouraged her to pursue this path because it was something that she was truly interested in. She enjoyed the classes, earned good grades, and graduated. She had high hopes of getting a job at a high end spa or plastic surgeon’s office since she was now certified to work in the industry. After intensive job searching and numerous interviews she soon found out it was not going to be so easy to get her “dream job”.

She soon began job hunting online and in her searching she found someone that was selling their skincare business that was located in a hair salon, at a price that we could afford. Now one might think it would be crazy to open a business with their spouse, some people thought we were even crazier to start a business since we were boyfriend and girlfriend at the time. However, as an aspiring entrepreneur I saw a great business opportunity for the both of us and everything just seemed to feel right. The hair salon was very nice, the people that worked there were very friendly and it seemed like a good fit, so we purchased the business.
We soon found out that there was a reason that the previous owner sold the business… because they did not have any business! It was just not in a good location for the services that we offered. We tried very hard to market and get things going but we simply could generate enough money to make it work. So after nearly two years of trying, we decided to call it quits, cut our losses and sell off the equipment we had purchased. The whole experience truly tested our relationship and our bank accounts. We ultimately felt like we had failed miserably and had nothing to show for it.

In the years to come we would soon find out how much value and experience we gained from our “failure”. My wife ended up getting a job at a dermatologist soon after we closed up shop. It was not the most ideal job but it helped the bills and build up her resume for the next job that she would get at a plastic surgeon’s office, and some spas performing skincare services. She moved from spa to spa for a couple years but then one day saw her “Dream Job” posed online. It was at one of the best spas in Brevard County. She updated her resume and applied for the job. She was selected as the best candidate for the job out of over 150 applicants.
All of her jobs build up her resume that got her dream job.

The foundation of that resume just so happened to be our failed business together. We did not realize it but 2 years of having our own business was a great resume builder for her. It also opened a lot of doors for her and had lasting benefits for both of us. After failing at a business together, without causing bodily harm to one another, we realized we could go through anything together and on December 31, 2010 we got married. We have a great marriage, made great friends along the way, and learned a lot about business in a small amount of time. She is now very happy at her current job and we are pursuing starting a photography business together in our free time. We will not make the same mistakes that we made in the skincare business. If we had not taken that risk five years ago we may not be where we are today. I am very happy that we tried our best and failed. No class could have taught us the lessons that we learned from that experience.

What the Hell Happened?

This week was homecoming at UCF, a week of traditions that includes our annual Black and Gold Gala. The event honors our most accomplished alums. This year’s alum from the College of Business was Steve Felkowitz, who among many things, is the sponsor of the Joust. It was a well-deserved award, going to a good guy, who gives back and also just happened to be the Knights’ first kicker.

In a departure from past galas, the evening included entertainment. Since most of the people in the audience have been around for a while, we brought back a blast from the past: KC and the Sunshine Band. (Students–google them.) KC is now sixty and a much larger figure than in his youth. He addressed his appearance at the start of the show and told the crowd: “when I look in the mirror at sixty, I ask myself what the hell happened?” He then proceeded to do what he clearly loves to do in unabashed fashion–the years and his shape be damned.

Looking back on the night, KC’s lament about the passage of time and his commitment to what he does seemed entirely appropriate for the event. A common theme in my visits with alums is what Kelly calls “going from success to significance.” Many of the people we meet have been wildly successful in their professional careers but feel that clock ticking and are searching for ways to ensure that they have lived lives of significance. They don’t want to wake up one day wondering “what the hell happened.” It is both a great honor and responsibility that those searches for significance often lead to us: Many people see giving back to their alma mater as a way of creating the significance they seek by helping to give the promise of a better future to others. It serves as a constant reminder to me that universities are ultimately about hope, that we are fortunate to have chosen work of such significance and that being a college professor is the best career in the world. I don’t know about all of my colleagues, but I plan on doing what I love, unabashedly like KC, for a very long time.