Humans of RPA: Counselor Kim Downey
“Is there an experience that defines who you are or where you are today, maybe in terms of being a school counselor?”
“I was really interested in psychology. So in my senior year I was like okay, let's go for this. I experimented with a lot of different majors. I wanted to be an architect for a while, but that didn’t work out as well as I thought. I got an undergrad degree in psychology. At the time I was also a student ambassador for my college and I was a volunteer who did tours once a week with prospective students and their families. I did tours of the campus, special events, things like that. I really liked that; I discovered that I really liked being excited and getting other students excited about possibilities and the future and helping them decide what their goals were. I like to think that I can be somewhat or very sometimes exuberant about different things so it was fun to share that excitement with other students and families.
So I decided, gosh, I could really see myself doing this after graduation. I thought about going into recruiting for a college or a company to help people figure out what they wanted to do career wise or just college wise. So, I was working for a company and I wasn’t doing recruiting; my job was more administrative tasks. I was working the front desk and my manager knew that I wanted to be a recruiter eventually so for one week he said ‘okay, Kim, when people come in for their interviews with their recruiter, before they come into the room for the interview, I want you to rate them on a scale of 1-10. 10 being awesome potential employee and 1 being not great.’
Okay, I think I can do that: rate them on a scale of 1-10. I would make a little note and keep it under my desk for each person, name and rate number. After three days, my manager came out and was like ‘okay Kim how are the ratings going? Do you have an average? I said maybe like a 7, some eights. And he was like’ 7? Really?’ I was like yeah should it of been higher, but he told me ‘no, Kim, what you're doing is you're looking at everybody who comes through the door and starting them out at 10 in your mind and as they interact with you, you are kind of docking points from the 10. What I want you to do is start everyone at a 0, and they have to build themselves up to a 10.
That didn’t sit well with me at the time. In my head I was squirming. I tried to do that for the remaining days but I just couldn’t veer from that high starting number. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that he wanted me to change my basic view of how I view people. No, I don’t want to change that about myself, I like how I view people positively. People should view people that way. I didn’t want to be in a career field where you have to be negative. Then I had to think about another field where I could view people positively in line with their future and help them with what they want to do with the rest of their lives.
I then found myself looking back to where I was at in college: Counseling, maybe school counseling. That’s where I felt like it might fit. So I thought about it for a couple years. It took me a while to settle on the idea but I ended up going back to school for school counseling as a result. So I guess I can pin it on that one experience.”