My Scary Moment: Making the Biggest Decision of My Life

By Risa Isard



Rewind to 11 months ago. After several weeks of what seemed like endless job searching, I found myself in the coveted position of having several offers. Rather than dissipating, the stress and anxiety I had been experiencing only amplified. I had a decision to make—a decision that I had convinced myself would surely dictate the rest of my life—and I had no idea how to make it. The offers varied dramatically: different parts of the country, different responsibilities, different pay (and cost of living), different levels of sport, different team structures, the list could go on. How do you compare apples to oranges? How do you make a decision bigger than anything you’ve ever faced?

Before the tides had turned and I had secured job offers, I had scheduled an informational interview with someone who was doing work at my alma mater that interested me. My “job search” had effectively ended, but I was still interested to learn about what she was doing, so I kept the phone appointment. The timing, as it turns out, could not have been more perfect. For some reason, this total stranger’s words made sense to me in a way the words of my trusted friends and family members hadn’t.

Given the change in my situation, the phone call went differently than most of my prior informational interviews. After asking her about her current projects, she asked about the status of my job search. I found myself explaining my current predicament. She listened and then offered advice that helped to shrink the magnitude of the decision I was facing, thereby calming the chaos I was experiencing. Surely, she wasn’t the first person to tell me that I wouldn’t be in my first job forever, but when she told me “You can’t make a wrong decision,” and made a strong case for why that was so, everything changed. She helped me to realize that wherever I was and whatever my day-to-day responsibilities were, it would be the life skills I would learn at my first “real job” that would really matter. And those life skills would find me regardless of which position I accepted. After getting off the phone with her, I took a deep breath. I could finally hear my gut. And embracing her wisdom that the stakes weren’t really as high as I made them out to be, I found the courage to listen to it.


risaAbout the Author
Risa Isard  graduated from Duke University (2012), where she designed her own major in social change, gender, and sports and earned honors for her thesis about the prehistory and early years of Title IX. She is an “everyday athlete,” has been published on espnW, and also blogs at I’m an Athlete, Not a Princess.  She recently landed her first “real” job as the Community Relations Coordinator for the Fresno Grizzlies, the Triple A affiliate for the San Francisco Giants.  She considers herself incredibly fortunate to have had amazing mentors and strongly believes in paying it forward to the next generation.