Five Things I Learned From Nina Parker

Nina Parker. The familiarity of this name instantly resonated with me, but I just could not place the name with a face. After clicking the article titled, The Quarter Life Crisis Is Real (from, that landed in my inbox, it instantly led me to a,” oh yeah, I know her” moment. The Nina Parker we know now is the host of the VH1 Love & Hip-Hop reunion franchises, as well as a guest host on E! just to name a few. But does anyone remember her from TMZ? That was her first on-air position, but her road to being one of the familiar faces for a television show based on a popular gossip website was quite humbling.

Parker’s story shows that it is never too late or too early to start over when it comes to chasing your dreams. After reading the article, I picked up some key gems of encouragement as I continue this journey called life.

It’s okay to decline the first job offer – Parker was offered a job fresh out of college (a graduate’s dream), but turned it down because it wasn’t her dream job. It is understandable to take the first thing offered to you; it can be deemed as a safe choice, and it offers you a chance to pay off your student loans and branch out on your own. But Parker knew her heart wasn’t in it. She continued to follow her passions which leads me to my next gem.

Don’t let money be the deciding factor – Without much experience, Parker submitted her resume for a lower paying job that was more in line with her career goals instead of accepting a full-time position with a large corporation. A big paycheck can be very intriguing, but if you are not working towards what you love, it is worthless.

Be humble -  After being fired from the lower paying position after two weeks, Parker had a good cry in the bathroom, apologized for her performance and expressed interest in another position at the same company! It is embarrassing enough to be fired, but to turn around and ask for another chance with the same organization shows humility and strength.

Work hard and network – Parker was willing to work way beyond 40 hours a week. After accepting a her positions, her hard work ethic led her to a promotion four months later. Her then-manager recognized her potential and encouraged her land her first on-air role; despite her insecurities. Hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s also important to build relationships and make connections with your colleagues. Even if it’s just saying, “good morning,” every day when others get straight to work without acknowledging others around them, these little gestures can go a long way.

Sometimes you must create your own opportunities for success – The relationships Parker cultivated throughout the course of her career led her to where she is today. She was able to reach out to the Vice President at CBS via social media for another job opportunity. Not many people are able to get that type of attention and garner a positive response. You never know who is watching. Parker made sure her name and presence was known at every place she worked. Because of that, she has been rewarded throughout the course of her career.

Nina Parker started over at 27, and her strategic career moves led her to where she is today. It was hard at first while people doubted her ambition. She was broke, over worked and under paid, but in the words of Henry David Thoreau, you must always Go Confidently in the Direction of Your Dreams.