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Ra'phael Davis: When The Job Finds You

Updated: Jul 8, 2020

Written by Ra'phael Davis

There are few things in this world that I think are meant to be, and I think working for Global Ties is one of them.

I first came to Global Ties Arkansas in January of 2020 as a soon-to-graduate Philosophy and International Studies major from U of A Little Rock. I was already working for a nonprofit that worked with mental health in the African American community because I could approach the job with a human rights lens. I was also working for an international marketing strategies company because the two jobs together was a full-time schedule; surely I could pay the bills from there. However, one month at the international marketing research company helped me realize that I was missing one thing: quality human interaction.

At the beginning of January, I spent one of my off days getting back on the job market. I knew I would keep the nonprofit job, but I set out in search of another job that let me be creative to replace the marketing one, work in the international community, and meet amazing people from whom I would learn new perspectives and culture. As I sat at a desk in the School of Public Affairs, the Interim Chair at the time walked to me and asked me how everything was going.

"Honestly," I said, "I am back on the job search because I've found out my marketing research job isn't a great fit for me".

Her eyes widened and, without hesitation, she ran to her desk as she yelled, "I'll be right back!". She sent me an email with the contact information for Global Ties Arkansas followed by a quick response that the Director was vacationing in the mountains; she'd interview me when she returned.

What were the chances that on the day I was off, sitting at the right place at the right time a job interview would fall in my lap? Some call it coincidence, some call it providence. Whichever it was, I was grateful and I could only pray that the interview would result in a job offer.

On Monday, January 14th, I worked from 8am to 2pm awaiting the interview at 3:30pm with Toni and Tommy. I was reviewing the organization's history and programs, mentally reviewing the most commonly asked interview questions, and thinking of what I would do if the interviewers asked what my plan for the next 5, 10, or 20 years was. By the way, did you know it's best to show that you are interested in learning and growing even that far into the future?

The interview room was exactly eight minutes from where I worked. After my shift, I jumped in my car, changed my clothes, and drove to the interview. I was nearly 45 minutes early when I arrived. Although one might presume that Toni and Tommy would have still been interviewing someone when I got there, the room was empty. We started the interview at 3:00pm and we didn't leave until it was almost 5:30pm.

I left that interview feeling good. Toni, Tommy, and I talked for those 2.5 hours sharing stories with each other. Toni told me about the times her and her husband, Jim, took a group of construction students to China. (We call her husband Superhero Jim because he beat a group of young Ukrainians and myself hiking up Pinnacle Mountain in his 70s.) Tommy told me about his favorite foods that he had tried from various countries in Latin America. I told them about my recent adventures to Morocco and the Netherlands. I felt like I was talking to friends instead of interviewers. It wasn't at all that they were unprofessional: I think we were just kindred spirits.

However, a week went by before I heard anything. In that waiting time my marketing job had already begun laying off workers because the advanced technology the companies we contracted with had eliminated the need for research interviewers like myself. I had just bought a new car because I had the income to do it. And what was I going to do between then and the time I officially graduated. Then, on January 20th, I got the following email:

The best part was that the day after I got this email, I found out that I could come work for Global Ties Arkansas immediately and didn't need a two-week notice because the rest of the month for the marketing job had become optional-- signaling that there was not enough work for employees to do. So I went to work! One thing was certain. I had learned that I didn't want a job where I sat in front of a computer screen only making calls for six to eight hours a day while I stared at a blue and black screen. I wanted to find a job that would allow me to make meaningful global connections and learn from the diversity of intellectual, professional, and cultural thought that existed in the world. But I got lucky: my job found me.

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