After completing two different practicums in grad school — one in foster care and one in youth development — I knew I preferred to work in foster care.
A few months before graduation, I had started stalking job boards on general sites as well as several specific agencies. Dan and I were married by this point, so I absolutely needed to (wanted to!) stay in St. Louis.
I loved the foster care agency where I had interned. I had done a short stint in the adoption and licensing department, and while I enjoyed case management, I saw the advantages of a less rigorous position. I had emailed my former supervisor to have her put in a good word for me in the adoption and licensing department. She replied that I had just barely missed an opening, and they had hired someone that very day. I was bummed.
A couple weeks after this and a few weeks before graduation, I attended a conference in town about arts and development. I was pulling out of the parking garage at the Chase Hotel when my phone started ringing. It was the foster care agency.
I answered, expecting to hear my former supervisor. But it was the head of the adoption and licensing department. “Hi, Natalie? Could you email me your resume ASAP? The position we just hired for is already vacant. We’d like to interview you.”
And a few hours after my interview, I got the call: I had the job. My first full-time real job. My first social work job.
I started the day before graduation.