Over the last few days, I’ve been reflecting back on all that has happened in my life and the events that I’ve witnessed over the past decade. It’s still hard to believe it’s been 10 years since everyone thought Y2K was coming and was going to be the end all be all for life as we knew it.
In 2001, the world was shocked by the tragic events of 9/11. I can still remember it like yesterday. I was a senior at Florida A&M University sitting in Professor Rasheed’s Publication class in the Tech Building like any ordinary Tuesday. One of my classmates, who was from NY, received a text message saying that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. Since it was a computer class we all pulled the online news website and read the breaking news, this was before streaming live video. I also remember campus being like a ghost town when we left class and trying to call my parents who worked in MD right outside of DC. At this point, I didn’t know the Pentagon had been attacked as well which was why my calls wouldn’t go through. Later I learned my parents saw the smoke from the Pentagon from their office window. I couldn’t even imagine.
In 2002, I graduated from undergrad to a weakened economy. The dot.com bubble had just burst and many of my friends and I graduated without jobs. Moved home to MD for four months then decided I was going to move to Atlanta and try my luck there. By a strange twist of fate, I became friends with a girl at work who wanted to move to Atlanta. So in May 2003, we packed up our belongings and moved to Atlanta with no jobs and very little money in the bank. We just wanted a change and knew the life had to be better elsewhere. (I wouldn’t advise anyone to do that now). Within a week of moving I had a job working for Saks Fifth Avenue and 2 months later was accepted to graduate school. I had some great times in Atlanta.
After graduate school, I went into the Executive Training Program with Saks and moved to New York. I never thought I’d ever live in NYC but after continuously hearing from so many older people how they always regretted not moving there when they had the chance I decided to take the leap. In July of 2005, I moved to a building in Spanish Harlem with 3 other girls where we shared one bathroom. Between having a mouse live in my closet to me chasing a would-be mugger who tried to steal my friend’s Marc Jacob bag (it was dumb I know but I caused a scene which caused him to be caught by an undercover police officer), I knew NY wasn’t the way of life for me.
A year later I was back in Atlanta. After being with Saks for three years, I’d been offered a position in retail management but was eyeing a Special Events Director position that I’d wanted since before starting grad school. When I was passed up for that position I knew it was time for a change. In 2006, I began working with Cingular (which became AT&T) in B2B sales. By February I was transferred to a new territory which brought my back to the DC area. While I enjoyed the money I made in sales, I didn’t feel like I was doing what I was meant to be doing and started looking for a position in marketing which was what I went to school.
I ended up landing my first marketing position with a financial services company. The VP of Marketing received her MBA from the same school that I attended, so I was instantly the favorite. Who ever said it’s about “Who you know, not what you know” could not be more right. I had no marketing experience outside of an internship in college and volunteering but I got the job and learned everything from writing press releases, to creating media plans, to working with designers on ad campaigns to maintaining a website. A few months in, I realized my manager had it out for me and was purposely doing whatever she could to sabotage my career. Lucky for me the VP always had my back but I couldn’t deal with my manager and her insecurities and got to the point where I thought I was just going to quit. Eventually, my friends talked me out of it and I began an intense job hunt because I knew I had to get out of there and quitting without another job lined up with a mortgage and a car note would not be the best decision.
In 2008, I received an offer from one of the largest professional membership organizations in the country and knew I couldn’t pass it up. While, I still was not making remotely close to the same salary as those I went to graduate school with or what I was making in sales, but the potential for growth and flexibility could not be beat. It took a while, but I can actually say that I love my job and I love my boss.
As we enter 2010, I’m excited about the future as it relates to my career. I have a feeling this decade is going to be full of change when it comes to personal development and relationships. I’m looking forward to celebrating the big 3-0, meeting my Mr. Right, getting engaged then married, having a couple of kids and living my American Dream.
Here’s to the next ten years. Happy New Year!