I’ve spent the last few years in full time holding-down-the-fort mode while Paul and his partners worked to launch their AI security company. In January, with that story speeding toward its exciting, if still unknown, conclusion, we had to turn our thoughts and efforts to figuring out what would come next for each of us.
To skip to the good part: I’ve reentered the workforce!
Two weeks ago, after polishing up my resume (goodbye, Times New Roman) and undergoing perhaps the most pleasant and relaxed interview experience of my life, I took a job as a copywriter for a successful marketing startup based right here in our beautiful hometown. Its offices are located in the same building where Paul works, which, funnily enough, is how I knew they had an opening. I guess that networking stuff really works! (Although I’ll probably stop short of marrying my other LinkedIn connections.)
Before I knew it, I had a signed contract and my first writing assignment, not to mention a strange glow of satisfaction spreading up from my toes and making happy bubbles in my head. Over the course of my working life, I’ve been a teacher, an office administrator, a caterer, a bookseller, a boutique manager, and a waitress. But now, finally, after a lifetime of writing solely for my own pleasure, someone is paying me to do the thing I most love to do. I underestimated just how good that would feel. It’s freaking fantastic.
For the most part, I do my work remotely; writing is something of a solitary endeavor, after all. On Monday mornings, though, the whole staff gathers together for a weekly meeting. The night before my very first team meeting, I felt oddly nervous and fidgety, as if the ghost of 6th grade Katrina had risen from the grave just to remind me that I was an incurable dork and was definitely going to wake up with a zit on my chin the size of Mount St. Helens. I even spent twenty minutes obsessively picking out an outfit—although I ended up ditching it at the last minute in favor of my most nubby but comfortable old sweater.
Paul dropped me at the office door that first day like a proud parent at kindergarten orientation. Nobody has been a bigger fan of my writing than he has, and I think he’s still celebrating the victory of his cheerleading over my persistent impostor syndrome. As for me, I walked into my new workplace feeling a lot like Robert De Nero’s aging character in The Intern. Never having worked for a startup before, everything was new to me. The warehouse-style workspace had an open floor plan, and it was bustling with activity. Modern workstations and comfortable seating arrangements were clustered around the bright, high-ceilinged room, with areas set apart for video and audio production. A retro kitchenette in the corner drew my eye, as did the large video screen set up for team presentations. Almost everyone there was in their twenties, and right away they seemed to have it together in a way I most emphatically did not at that age.
I only grew more impressed as person after person introduced themselves to me. They were, without exception, kind and welcoming, and as the meeting progressed, I saw that they were talented, too—each of them at the top of their game, whether in graphic design, video editing, web development, or client relations. I was asked to introduce myself and share my story, which I did, briefly. My only regret is that, in my nervousness, I accidentally left out my one claim to fame: that I once met Dick Van Dyke and accidentally dripped melted ice cream on his shoes. It’s not remotely relevant to marketing, of course, but I think this world can use all the Dick Van Dyke stories it can get.
Afterward, one of my new coworkers trained me on the project management and communications software I would be using. Thanks to her patience and help, I was soon up and running, and trying very hard not to say anything embarrassing on the company Slack channels.
Anyway, I think I’m going to like it here. I can only hope the feeling will be mutual.
While I’m learning the ropes, I do still need to find an expert who can definitively tell me once and for all whether “Slack” can properly be used as both a verb and a noun. As a new staff writer, I think it’s critical for me to nail that down. If you can offer any insights, just Slack me.