College advisers teach students that with a good transcript, community service and references, getting a job shouldn't be terribly difficult.
But soon after DeBray Ayala graduated in 1991 from Oklahoma City University with a bachelor's degree in science and art, he found that the job hunt was more than a mathematical equation.
There are a lot of factors, variables and a few subtractions, but the 37-year-old said the key is to stay positive.
"You have to pay your dues before opportunity presents itself," he said.
Ayala is general manager and vice president of sales at Express Sports / Oklahoma City Blazers.
And after 12 years, he's not only paid his dues, but found his professional niche.
Ayala generates more than $500,000 in annual sales through corporate sponsorships and tickets annually.
Still, this top dog hasn't always led the pack. There was no office with a view in the beginning, just a phone book, chair and telephone in a conference room.
Looking back, he says, being named one of the top flames at OKC Blazers was a defining moment in his life.
Ayala is a member of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and serves on the alumni board for OCU Athletics.
Perhaps his prized possession isn't the hockey team, but Padova Futbol Club, a competitive youth soccer club for inner-city Hispanic students that Ayala founded.
He said the job has had its ups and downs, but watching the young adults mature as players and people makes every minute worthwhile.
That's the way people should live life, Ayala says, savoring each moment and valuing each experience. Most great things in his life aren't exactly part of the agenda, he says. Sometimes, it's just better to live and evaluate life as it happens.