The day I interviewed at my company it was boiling outside. Not quite the middle of summer Charlotte heat, but definitely in the high 80’s if not low 90’s. Adamant about not only proving my professional quality and appearance, but also that I had some fashion sense given that I was interviewing with the South’s largest privately owned retailer, I bit the bullet and wore my favorite suit…which just so happened to be a heavy wool brushed skirt and jacket.
As if my nerves weren’t enough to send beads of sweat rolling down my forehead, there was no amount of air condition that could tame the waves of heat I had stored just from walking through the parking lot and into the building. I wanted this job BAD.
I happened upon the program totally by coincidence. A representative from the company had come to give a presentation on the collateral and advertising pieces created by the company, and I noticed one of the brochures talked about an training program that placed assistant buyers. So I hounded the rep (who I found out was a trainer at the corporate office) until she forwarded my resume to the program recruiter. Then I hounded the recruiter until she gave me an interview. Then I hounded her and the HR person until finally I received an offer.
Entering my training class on the first day I felt extremely intimidated. I was very UNDER-qualified compared to my peers. All but one were fashion merchandising or textile majors. One had completed an internship in New York with Zac Posen, another went to Parsons and interned with Donna Karen, and yet another had interned in London with French Connection. Sitting there with my marketing and PR majors and a few marketing internships under my belt, I was lost when they started spitting out merchandise and textile related terms. But young and naive and fully confident in my ability to learn I held my head high and fought my way through the program. Some of the girls became my best friends. Two were even in our wedding. At the time we couldn’t wait to be buyers, to travel to New York, to start our fabulous careers in fashion.
I am one of only three of our nine person class left. And tomorrow is my last day. The past four years have been an experience. There have been times that I have been extremely happy both with the job I was doing and the people I was doing it with. And there have been times when I have gone home crying I was so miserable. I’ve felt inspired and I’ve felt drained. Ambitious and defeated. Confident and weak. And sitting here today packing away my little cube I feel a touch of sadness and longing for that aspiring young girl that walked in the doors years ago. I miss that determination and drive. But my priorities and desires have changed drastically since that time. I’ve grown up so much during my time here. I couldn’t be more ready to say goodbye and embark on the next journey. Like anyone I hope I’ve left something good behind here. I hope someone sees something that reminds them of me and they smile. I hope that the people that have been great friends and superb co-workers know how much their positive energy and genuine personalities have meant to me.
Business and the people running it change with the wind, but the experience and memories of my first “big girl” job will reside in my heart forever.
Goodbye little gray cube (which was recently remodeled to actually have SUNLIGHT, previously those windows were completed covered by gray cube wall)…