genYOU Story 25 – Nicole

Our EPIC 25th genYOU Story comes from one of our superstar interns, Nicole Micallef! Nicole will be graduating mid-2019, and we’re stoked we could be a part of her journey!

Name: Nicole Micallef 
Current Role: 3rd-year  student at QUT studying a Bachelor of Creative Industries, majoring in Entertainment Industries and Media & Communications; Intern at Bright Conferences.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and where you are headed in your career right now?

Hey, I’m Nicole. I was born in the small Mediterranean archipelago of Malta and migrated to Brisbane, Australia when I was 2 years old.

I am 20 years old and a full-time university student, currently in my third-year. I live at home with my parents, I drive a 2011 Toyota Yaris and I work at McDonald’s. I know, I know- it’s a pretty thrilling life I lead.

The last fact however is probably my biggest insecurity.

In 2013 I convinced myself that my McDonald’s journey would only last two years MAXIMUM.  5 years later, I am still taking people’s orders in a drive-thru. I hear my friends talking about their busy lifestyles with their 9-5 office jobs and the networks they have already established.

I’m not going to lie, it feels kind of shit knowing that they are beginning their professional careers while I’m still in the same place I was five years ago flipping burgers. Working at McDonald’s has impacted my self-esteem quite significantly. It has created a big dark cloud of self-doubt within my mind, making me question my capabilities and restricting my creative potential.

How has or how is generationYOU helping you achieve your goals?

Before going into the interview for my internship at genYOU, I knew I would have to tell my interviewer (Lisa) about my current occupation. I felt so embarrassed.

There’s no denying that there are negative connotations one associates with employment in a fast-food chain like Maccas. People often make jokes and memes about it, ultimately saying that if all else fails in life you can always work at McDonald’s.

During my interview, I expected Lisa to maybe giggle, cringe, feel sorry for me or say the famous line ‘thanks, we’ll call you’, code for ‘sorry but not interested’. However, much to my surprise she didn’t seem to mind.

Lisa assured me that I had nothing to feel insecure about, explaining to me that being at the same job for five years looks much better on a CV than someone who jumps from occupation to occupation in small periods of time.

She also helped me to understand that the skills McDonald’s has equipped me with are transferrable to any future profession such as teamwork, communication, customer service and problem-solving.

From this, I have learnt that McDonald’s is not my rock bottom but rather just my starting point. A long starting point but that doesn’t matter. I no longer look at my job as an embarrassment or something that makes me inferior to anyone else.

Instead I look back on the past five years as valuable learning experiences with an internationally renowned brand.

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

My biggest inspiration would probably have to be my mother. When we migrated to the land Down Under my mum had to leave everything she had ever known behind; her parents, her home, her friends and her work.

She sacrificed so much just to ensure that when my brother and I grew up, we would have more opportunities than she did.

My mum has always been and will forever be my number 1 supporter.  She encourages me to pursue my dreams and assures me that good things take time. So whichever career path I decided to take in life, no matter how boring or embarrassing it may seem, I remind myself that I wouldn’t be this fortunate if it wasn’t for my hero, my mother.

What is the one piece of advice you would love to share with your millennial peers as you reflect on your own journey?

 ‘In order to succeed, we must first believe we can.’

As cheesy as it sounds, these 10 little words have helped me a lot mentally this past year. By changing my mindset, I have turned self-doubt into self-confidence, accomplishing so much more than I could have imagined.