Today marks two whole years working for my company. When I walked in the door at 9AM wearing an ill-fitting suit and having a bad hair day in 2010 I didn’t think there was a smallest chance in hell I would make it through the first month, let alone the first year. Or the second. But here I am– now firmly planted in my own office with a door and a window overlooking the park. I’ve been given a promotion. And a company blackberry. And a iPad. And an AmEx with my name on it.
My company and I have had a couple rocky moments. I’ve been reprimanded for having a bit of a sass problem, been told that my personality was “too strong”. I’ve shown up wearing a purple bra under a white button-down shirt. Once flashed a VP when I got the back of my dress stuck in my nude color tights. I sent out an invitation to every single scheduler on Capitol Hill with a typo*. Ups and downs, y’all! But that’s enough of that. Let’s just say it hasn’t been smooth sailing.
Your first year out of college is kind of like your freshmen year of LIFE– and I am completely aware of how ridiculous and cliche that sounds**. The transition from college to professional life is a rough one, at least it was for me. You’re caught hopelessly in the middle of wanting to say up drinking all night and having to be at work showered and dressed by 9AM. Forced to shift from a wardrobe full of Free People dresses and cowboy boots to respectable high heels and dress pants from Banana Republic. All of a sudden you have to be awake at 7:3o in the morning and technically can’t still be drunk from the night before.
I’m not sure how other colleges do shit– but when I graduated I had absolutely no clue how to write a resume, or find a job or interview. I walked into this place two years and didn’t even know how to use a copy machine, so I think I’ve come a long way. For one, it’s been a really long time since I’ve flashed anyone and I think I’ve finally figured out what exactly “professional attire” means. I no longer FREAK OUT when my blackberry makes noise and contribute to my 401K like a responsible adult.
So I’ve got the whole behaving in polite and professional society kind of down. But that doesn’t mean I have any idea what I want to do when I grow up. People ask me all the time– well, you don’t want to be an executive assistant forever, what do you want to do? It isn’t lack of ambition or options or drive, it’s simply that I have no fucking idea. If I knew what I wanted to do, I’d be doing it already.
I invited my friend L over last night for my delicious delicious homemade wild rice soup with ham*** and we had the same conversation I’ve had numerous times with her and others. We know we probably don’t want to stay in DC for the rest of our lives, we think maybe we should go to grad school but don’t know what we want to study, our jobs are fine but don’t inspire us in anyway. As L put it, “the world is our oyster and that sucks”.
So here I am. Two years into this. Three and a half years out of college. Still no clue where I see myself in five years. Or five months for that matter. But I’d like to think I’m doing alright. I moved here three years ago without a single friend on the Eastern seaboard, a 100K degree and no tangible skills. And look at me now– I’ve got roommates that I think are pretty great, a large group of friends that will meet me for happy hour and pick me up at the airport and a job that for the most part has allowed me to figure my professional shit out on their time. I’ve come a long way. And today– that is good enough.
**And if my freshman year of college is any indication– as I spent the majority of it wearing sweatpants and eating Smuckers Uncrustables, it doesn’t go well.
***L hates ham, by the way, so I picked all the ham pieces out of her bowl. How good of a friend am I?!