There were two ways my life could’ve gone. Be comfortable and complacent, taking the easy, known road, however unhappy I may be. Or step out of that comfort zone and dive into completely new waters, struggle through the unknown to discover something I love. I hope you can guess which one I chose.
Last month, I received a call from an advertising agency, while I was running an errand for my job at the nonprofit, Steeltown Entertainment Project. The man on the phone said they had found my resume, submitted in June, and while they didn’t need me for the job I had originally wanted, they had an opening for a position they believed was a better fit.
I could go into a very detailed diatribe about that whole interview process, but perhaps it’s best saved for another post. In short, my first interview seemed to go well. I met with two different people, I was honest and eager, I made them laugh and I believed that I was memorable. Memorable enough for a second interview. This interview was short, dry and to the point. I thought I failed their test. I felt incompetent and I resigned myself to working at Steeltown. Then I got another call for a “follow-up conversation.” This, too, was short and to the point. I got the job.
I spent my last two weeks at Steeltown making sure that everyone could learn what I knew through a handy little document I titled the Administrative Assistant Handbook. It was the longest two weeks of my life. When you’re waiting for your life to change dramatically, you want that change to happen soon. The worst part is the anticipation.
My last day was a Wednesday. It was odd to end one thing in the middle of the week and start a new life the very next day. But everyone at work seemed so genuinely happy for me and supportive of my decision. They would miss me but they wanted me to have a great career, to learn new things, and do something that I loved. In not so many words. We had a fun little lunch together that day and they all signed a card and gave me flowers and wished me luck.
I appreciate every opportunity that I had at Steeltown. It was the first real job I had and it taught me about the real world. I learned some basic office-y skills that will get me through life in any situation. I had the time and support from some of my co-workers to explore new skills and to try new things and attend interesting events, and for that I am so grateful. I believe that Steeltown has a powerful mission and has great things in store and I wish them all the best.
I needed this new opportunity and was ecstatic that I actually got the job the old fashioned way, not because my aunt knew someone’s neighbor who worked with the manager. But I was terrified. I didn’t (and still don’t) know everything that they need me to know for this position. I didn’t have the required skills. They knew that when they hired me. Like I said, I had been honest in the interviews. But they knew that I would do everything I could to learn those skills. They knew I would ask questions and I would work extra hours and I would research on my own. They knew I would teach myself how to do the job to the best of my ability and then go beyond that because I genuinely wanted to.
I have been a digital coordinator for six full work-days. It is not easy for me. I feel like I am swimming in the ocean at high tide when the waves are rough and I keep getting pummeled over and over. But I keep coming up, I keep facing the waves, and when I come out, I still love the ocean. I feel that I have conquered something.
I have been fully immersed in the agency since day one. I have learned more in six days than I did in some full semesters at college. I still have a long way to go, but as each day passes, I grow a little more confident.
So far I am really liking this job. I come home at the end of the day with a smile still on my face. My new co-workers are friendly and welcoming. The team is collaborative and everyone works hard. If I have questions, I know that anyone will answer them and do what they can to help me. Best of all, I am respected and trusted. They want my opinion and they want me to become an expert. They hired me because they thought that I was the best for this job and they will let me do my best.
I have many more waves to battle. But this is something that I truly want to do and at the end of the day, if I am still happy and finding things to love about my job, then I know I’ve chosen the right path.