Seven years ago next month, I sat nervously in a sunny conference room in an office in a business park in Irvine, California, wading my way through an interview. I had no idea what I was really interviewing for, the job description a jumbled mess of jargon I didn’t yet understand, but the kind smiles on the faces of the interviewers were encouraging, the office looked super cool, and it sounded like a real career job. Plus, their website showed dozens of offices all over the globe – this was my ticket to living abroad again! When they offered me the position, I took it without hesitation.
This is how I stumbled into the world of advertising, planning and buying media space for Fortune 500 companies. I was surrounded by smart, motivated people, and I was learning in a way that my college education never could have taught me. Anyone who has worked with me knows I’ll harp on and on about the amazing transferable skills a job in media can give you – client management, team management, sales skills, financial management skills, profit & loss management (see how jargony I’ve become, too?), creative thinking, etc. But what’s really painted this journey for me has been the people. From my eager, recently-graduated peers at that office in Irvine (who are all now incredibly successful director/owner/CEO-types all around the world), to the cast of characters in Seattle who were a huge part of making that city home, to the great friends I made here in Sydney that became my surrogate family, I think about the people that my career has allowed me to collide with and I know that they are the absolute best thing about the past 7 years of long hours in an office.
And on Friday, I went through a slightly familiar routine. I wrote my farewell emails, had my final team lunch, and almost cried in front of the entire agency when I said my farewell speech. I packed up the few things from my desk, lingering behind a little later than the rest of my team. And as I walked down the hallway toward the elevator one last time, I unwittingly had a movie-style montage of the people and places that my advertising career had taken me, and nearly was in tears again.
And now here I am, writing the end of this chapter. I don’t think that media is going to be in my future, though nothing is certain. But I think we’ve outgrown each other, and I’ve been hanging on longer than I should have like an overly-dependent girlfriend. But I couldn’t let the moment pass without a little tribute to that young girl in Irvine, and everyone who’s turned me into who I am today.
Now onto the next adventure!