How She Got There: Johanna Maria Hessling, Records Manager at Guinness World Records

Name: Johanna Maria Hessling
Age: 31
Job Title and Description: Records Manager and Adjudicator, Guinness World Records           
College/Major: University of Florida, Advertising and Written and Oral Communications
Website: www.guinnessworldrecords.com                       
 
Her Campus: What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?
Johanna Maria Hessling: I wear many hats and there is no such thing as a typical day.  One day, I’m at my desk in New York City, answering claimants’ questions, writing guidelines and setting minimum requirements for new world record ideas applied for on our website. The next day I’m flying to Asuncion, Paraguay to verify the world’s longest hot dog.  It’s a dream job and there’s never a dull moment!
 
HC: What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?
JH: My first entry-level job was as the marketing assistant at Reader’s Digest magazine and I got it because of a contact whom I had previously freelanced for knew that the position was available.
 
HC: What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?
JH:
It’s not as glamorous as I had imagined it was when I was in college.  It’s a lot of work and there is tons of competition. You always have to be on your game!

HC: Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?
JH:
One of my former bosses once said to me, “Johanna, you are wasting your talents sitting behind a desk, writing proposals all day… you should be interacting with people daily and doing bigger, more important things with your life.”  He was right because less than a year later, I’m working at Guinness World Records helping to make people’s dreams of breaking a world record a reality.
 
HC: What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
JH: This is definitely a cliché, but follow your heart and do what makes you happy.

HC: What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
JH:
The one mistake I made that I learned early on is don’t waste your time being unhappy at a job you don’t like because you are worried not to have a job. You spend too much of your life at work and you should enjoy it to the fullest.

HC: What is the best part of your job?
JH:
The best part of my job is meeting the amazing people all over the world who I get to watch realize their dream of setting a world record.  It’s such a fulfilling feeling!
 
HC: What do you look for when considering hiring someone?
JH: I’ve never been in a position to hire someone else, but when that time does come, the most important attributes I would look for are a passion for the work being performed and a great, can-do attitude.
 
HC: What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
JH:
You can do and accomplish anything you want in your life, you just have to not be afraid to dream big and always think positive thoughts. One day, you will realize that you’re doing exactly what you’ve always wanted.

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