James Crafa ’12 graduated from Hamilton with a major in Economics and minor in History. James lives in Park City, UT and works as a Manager of Corporate Sales for Qualtrics.
I assume I’m not the only Hamilton Alumni that didn’t have any idea what to do after graduation, but it certainly felt like that at the time.
I was fortunate enough to leverage a few connections (… it’s the hands you shake after all) to land an entry level role at Wayfair in Boston. At the time, I figured it would be cool to move to a new city and work at a growing company. Aside from that I really didn’t think too much about whether it would actually be the right fit for me.
Throughout my nearly three years spent in Boston I ended up doing quite a bit of self-reflection. It wasn’t that I was unhappy, quite the contrary actually, but there was just something missing. I boiled it down to one question, “What do I want?”
I quickly realized I needed more. I wanted to expand both my career at a quicker trajectory and my own personal horizons. There just had to be something out there other than brunch and BHP (a bar much like the Rok after midnight), as great as those things are. If you take away one thing from this post, just don’t settle. I’ve met countless people who are not overly enthused with where they live or what they do, but they don’t do anything about it! I cannot tell you how much that frustrates me.
The first step is figuring out what’s important to you. The second is taking action; otherwise it doesn’t really matter.
For me, I wanted a higher quality of life and a lower cost of living. So I applied to a number of top-rated tech companies in Utah. You might be wondering why Utah. There’s a long answer to that, but the short version is I love to ski, have family in the area and wanted to get out of the city. I ended up getting an interview, and later a job, at my top choice, Qualtrics.
A few months later all my worldly possessions were on a train to Salt Lake City. I now have my own place at the base of Park City Mountain Resort and I ski every weekend November-April while still holding a ‘real’ job that’s accelerating my career faster than I could’ve imagined. Now don’t get me wrong, I was extremely fortunate both in my job and housing search, but it came from having a clear picture of what was important to me and the drive to actually act upon it. The incredible experience I gained at Wayfair, naturally my Hamilton education, and the mentorship I received from my coach, T.J. Davis, both in school and after, were invaluable along the way. A bit of luck didn’t hurt either.
When I was asked to compose a few remarks for this blog I knew I wanted to share my path of personal reflection and how it led me to find happiness not only with my career, but also with my personal life. It’s not out of the ordinary in this day and age to make a leap of faith and move away from your hometown, but it is difficult to have the self-assuredness and the utmost confidence that you’re making the right decision.
I wanted to title this, “You do You” because it’s both fitting and one of my favorite phrases, but after thinking more about Hamilton I realized a more apt title would be “Know Thyself”, as corny as it sounds. Only through a solid understanding of your wants, needs, desires, and drivers can you find the clarity to not only make a decision, but to back it up and feel confident that what you’re doing is right.
I do not want you to leave this article thinking I have it all figured out, that could not be further from the truth. There are constant challenges both personally and professionally that I continually strive to improve (like 30 lbs of weight that’s gotta come off and “how am I supposed to hit my sales number”). What I do want you to take away is don’t ever settle. Find what makes you happy and strive to achieve it. If you can nail that down, you are far ahead of the game.