My Fickle Friend

by Jane Moneypenny

The autumn wind, and the winter winds – they have come and gone
And still the days, those lonely days – they go on and on
And guess who sighs his lullabies – through nights that never end
My fickle friend, the summer wind

-The Summer Wind

This summer, the wind has decided to blow me every which way. Out of the comfort of St. Louis, into the wonder of Greece and Italy, through the beauty of California, the bigness of Texas and back home to New Orleans. As of Tuesday night, my decision was made. I decided to be excited and pro-active and embrace living in the city I grew up, no matter how tough it would be. It’s all in the attitude, right?

I wrote out 3 unsent emails at 1am that morning: one to Austin declining the job; another to the friends that were subject to my arguing in circles; a third to those unaware of it all. I would call New Orleans in the morning to give them my choice and see if they had agreed to the measly $1500/year salary increase (Austin had offered $4500 more). It was never about the money, but about New Orleans knowing I had better options and pay elsewhere. I fell asleep, completely at peace with my decision.

But life likes to mess with me or in this case, the summer wind. To my surprise, the boss wanted me to come in for another round of interviews and meet the interactive team to make sure we got along. This would have been all nice and dandy except a week ago, he had already offered me a job (I was lying on the ugly beach in Galveston when I got the call). And this is what’s nagged me about their process all along; they refused to talk salary until I demanded that I needed to know or I couldn’t make a decision. Confused by this sudden turn of events, I went in yesterday for one of the strangest interviews of my life.

I’m going to preface this with I’ve been on a lot of interviews in my life; one of my most embarassing stories happened at a round 2 interview that I uncharastically bombed (I’ll save this for another day; it’s a thing of legend). So when I walked in, I suddenly got the feeling it was going to be very similiar. These people must have had been handed a game plan on how to treat me in this interview because THREE rounds later, I was drained. They grilled me. And when I mean grill, I mean threw everything at me they could.

But I was prepared. I’m not sure what it was, but I stayed cool and answered their questions without a blink or a flinch. One girl who came in with some serious issues with me and was the meanest of the bunch:

“You seem to have moved up very quickly in the last three years (scribbles “4 months” on my resume and double underlines it). You went from senior designer to art director in that short of time, huh? Well, HERE, we have a hiearchy and it’s strict and we all follow it.”

Translation: “You can’t just waltz in! I want your job and you have to work for respect.”

“If I gave you X, how fast can you do it by? Because we’re on a timeline and we stick to it.”

Without even thinking, I snapped back, “How fast do you want it? If you want it in an hour, you get it an hour. Might not be its best, but you tell me what you need and I’m there.”

“Well, just so you know, working with the creative director means you have to give up your vision sometimes. At the end of the day, it’s his idea and his project, so you need to give up ego.”

I’ll spare the details of the next few rounds, but it was rough. Unlike the last interview I had like this, I didn’t blow it. Truthfully, I walked away filling confused about their intentions, but pretty damn proud of myself for rocking it. He promised I would get a call in the morning with a possible offer (negating the one he already offered me?!). So I spent a restless night trying to make a choice. This morning, he called bright and early and offered (with only a $500 increase); to his surprise, I told him I would call him back in an hour.

I panicked.

And panicked.

Then I remembered what someone told me: “Most people want to be a big fish in a small pond, but I think being a small fish in a big pond means you have room to grow and be a big fish in a big pond.”

And with that thought, I made the call and changed everything. Things move fast, don’t they? I move to Austin next weekend and start next Tuesday. A good friend is letting me stay with her until I make money to move to my own place and come back for the rest of my things. So that’s that. I’m jumping head in and after telling New Orleans my choice (they freaked and got mad that I was still considering Austin when I went in yesterday), I’m confident I chose the right place. I cannot wait to get back to work!

“If you truly expect to realize your dreams, abandon the need for blanket approval. If conforming to everyone’s expectations is the number one goal, you have sacrificed your uniqueness, and therefore your excellence.” – Hope Solo, U.S. Olympic Soccer