There’s a negative connotation associated with the word, millennial. It has become synonymous with words like, lazy, ego-centric, entitled, and shallow. And if we’re being real, there might be some (or a lot) of truth to that. However, I’m not here to debate that today, but instead, to celebrate someone I think deserves some praise, who is busting through every stereo-type associated with today’s younger generation.
She isn’t famous. She isn’t on television. She isn’t the person loudly hamming it up when you walk into a room. This 23-year-old recent graduate of College of Charleston is a soft-spoken, yet assertive go -getter who quietly and methodically works for what she wants in life. She doesn’t step on others to get close to the limelight, nor has she asked her parents to carry her to it. Like a steady steam engine, chugging along, she pushes forward, working the whole way, her pacing solid and rhythmic. Watching her the past two months, I’ve come to admire my fresh-faced young assistant, and am impressed every day by her selfless commitment.
I was nervous to hire an assistant to help out with my debut novel. I screened candidates as closely as I would have a nanny for a newborn infant. After all, my book is my baby. I worked to this point my entire life, and needed someone who understood the passion, but that I could also trust to the ends of the Earth. I only chose 2 people to interview out of all the applicants, and I ended up hiring Halie on the spot. I couldn’t bear to interview the other girl her age who applied after I realized it had been her mother who’d reached out to me. I needed someone tough, but hungry…a child just wouldn’t do.
When I first saw Halie, I thought she looked about fifteen, though her clothes suggested something more mature. But, after only talking with her for about 30 minutes, I hired her. She shook my hand firmly, looked me in the eye, discussed her passion for writing and marketing, and told me exactly what she wanted. However she didn’t sell me cheap theatrics, regale me with schoolgirl achievements, or tell me why she deserved the opportunity. She told me how she planned to earn the opportunity, and eventually her place in the literary world. I had found my girl!
Since that day I have watched Halie practice what she preached. She’s booked my signings, written press releases, spent countless hours on phone calls, and held my hand through an amazing, but chaotic time. My book wouldn’t have launched so perfectly without her. When I asked her where this work ethic came from she credited her parents, and beloved grandfather (whom she cared for until his recent passing). Then she jokingly blamed her proclivity towards perfection, and recalled quietly correcting the other little girls’ moves in their ballet recital while on stage.
Halie says that the thing she holds onto most though, is her faith in God. She keeps working through any obstacles while repeating Philippians 4:13 to herself. She’s also obsessed with the strong women of the Bible, and tells me, “I hope I can be as badass as they were.” It is in her faith that she has found fire. With that fire she continually fuels in the bowls of that steam engine is where she sews her oats. I cannot wait to see what fruit she’ll bear, because this particular millennial has it right.
I leave you with something she said, that resonates with me all the time. I’m only 31 myself, which is young in the writing world. When I get that look from people like I’m too young to be at the table, or too green to pick off the vine, I think of Halie’s words she uttered with a pleasant, yet deadpan look on her face. “Don’t judge me because of my age. I will NEVER give you an excuse.” I think that’s something we can all emulate from our tenacious, Halie. NEVER an excuse.