You never know where you’re going to end up in your career, said Michigan state representative Nancy Jenkins. She’s a prime example of that, she said, never expecting to serve in the state capitol as an elected politician.
Rep. Jenkins spoke to Morenci’s eighth grade career education class Monday morning to talk about her career own path.
She said that when she was the age of the students in her audience, she took the tests that showed career choices based on interests and the suggestion was parker ranger or conservation worker.
She really didn’t think that’s where she would end up.
Rep. Jenkins said she was an avid reader and books opened her eyes to a lot of possibilities.
“I wanted to do something to affect peoples’ lives,” she finally decided. “I wanted to do something bigger than myself. I didn’t want to do the ordinary; I wanted to do the extraordinary.”
She took part in a Washington, D.C., study trip while in college and learned how decisions there had an effect on her life as a Clayton resident.
She spent a lot of time volunteering on the campaigns of other people running for office, while serving as a real estate title examiner.
She returned to college and earned a master’s degree in political science and thought she might some day serve as a legislative aide.
She learned the importance of making contacts with others and soon had a job with the Michigan Family Forum organization in Lansing. Funding problems led to a downsizing of the group and eventually she returned to Lenawee County.
She stated working on county committees and began serving as the Lenawee County representative for State Senator Cameron Brown.
When Sen. Brown suggested that Jenkins would make a good state representative, she was honored but not ready to take the plunge. But it planted a seed in her mind and eventually she decided it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She was voted into office last November.
She concluded her talk by urging students to take advantage of the opportunities that arise.
She asked students about their career goals and was impressed with the answers that included marine biologist, chef and religion professor.