A dentist and a burrito inspire a career in PR

The author took his dentist’s advice, which ultimately led to lunch at a Mexican restaurant that changed the trajectory of his professional life.

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The best advice I ever got was from a dentist. Before heading off to college as a pre-med major for my freshman year, he told me, “Don’t try to become a doctor in college, they’ll teach you that in med school.” He said to take classes that I enjoy, and I would do better and have fun.

So, I didn’t try to become a doctor.

Eventually, I settled on political science for a major and went on to graduate school for a master’s degree in public administration (MPA). I was about to settle in for a career as an analyst at a nonprofit organization, when I had a burrito that changed my life.

I met someone I knew for lunch at a Mexican restaurant and was asked to join her political campaign. She went on to defeat a long-time incumbent in an upset election and then asked me to be her chief of staff.

Freshman lawmakers aren’t given many resources, so I would jokingly refer to myself as a “chief of no staff.” One minute I was drafting bills, the next minute I was drafting press releases.

In the office, we often said this was a job for a generalist. You don’t need to be an expert on everything, but you do need to know how to get up to speed on just about anything.

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