Musing with Max

Musing with Max

May 9, 2014

Coming up for air

This is long, but please bear with me, I've been away a while.

While catching up with my blog reading last week I was taken aback a bit by the poem Jen had included in this post, Vocation. I started out wanting to be a ballerina, not just in the little girl sense since I took dancing lessons into my mid teens, I also took flamenco so somewhere along the way I switched to wanting that. Life got in the way and that went on it's way. At some point I wanted to be an architect, I had taken it in high school in the vocational program and was told by the professor and my father that I was good. High school got in the way of that and I went on to my next idea, journalism. I took it in high school and worked for the school paper, really enjoyed it too and again was told I was good at it. (I still have the papers with my articles in them, not bad) When college time came around I abandoned that and thought of law. I wanted to be a criminal lawyer. In pre-law you have to take all kinds of legal courses and I found nothing more boring than business law so that put a glitch in my plan. That and the fact that if I wanted to make any kind of decent living in criminal law I would have to be a defense attorney which meant representing the guilty and trying to get them off, couldn't live with myself...bye bye law. So I made a 360 and decided on fashion design, maybe interior decorating, something artsy which would include things I was interested in, clothes, shoes, houses, furniture, shoes, art, painting, drawing, shoes, etc. I took a job recommended by a friend and my supervisor gave me a talking to explaining how those choices were not practical, I should switch to business administration which would serve me well in any profession. Worst advice I ever got but gullible 18 year old that I was I listened to him and since I hated business...and quit college. Took the job full time, admin at a finance company. Life happened, got married, moved to New York went looking for a job...terrified. "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere..." Took a job in an "employment agency", now known as a "recruiting firm" as the owner's assistant, just she and I. The firm grew a bit and so did I, got into recruiting and running the office; all at the same time. I was comfortable, not crazy about what I was doing but comfortable. It was decent place to work, was well treated, did well in the growth and salary department so I stayed. After over 20 years the owner abruptly closed the business in October of 2010, the day of my birthday no less and all I got were my walking papers. So much for loyalty. I quickly got a 3 month consulting assignment in recruiting for an advertising agency and then was out again. I interviewed at/with so many firms I can't even keep track, all for recruiting jobs, something which by the way I despise. I was interviewed by 20 year olds who couldn't ask a half way intelligent question but since this is advertising I was too old, therefore out of it. Rejection came the minute I walked in the door. The last straw came when a woman I was interviewing with walked in and her first words were "you are not getting this job", then proceeded to talk for a half hour about how hard she had had it etc. etc. I was too polite to just walk out. I came home and told Frank it was over. I would not do this to myself. My husband, being the great guy he is, said "fine, do whatever you want". I decided, part-time, close to home, NO RECRUITING, that's the criteria. It's not easy to reinvent yourself to the world so it took some doing but I am nothing if I'm not determined and my Parents' daughter. Applied for all kinds of funky things, friends told me I should open a restaurant, start a catering business, my thought "if I cook for a living I won't love it anymore", took a crappy part time job doing research in supermarkets for no money and just kept looking and looking and looking. Then one day I walked into a digital marketing agency that was looking to replace their part-time office manager who was retiring, she worked 2 to 3 days a week about 3 hours a day and they needed to increase that to every day from 9 to 3. They hired me. The HQ is in New Jersey, 10 miles from my house, 18 people in the office at the time I joined. Offices in UK, Caribbean and India, 700 total. My job was office supplies, assistant to the CEO, travel arrangements, event planning, mainly happy hours and the office picnic and holiday party. We are now 40 in NJ, 1400 worldwide, outgrew our office so we needed to move. Rented a space, hired an architect and had it built out. I was in charge of the entire endeavor, my boss gave me that task, I have fought with construction workers, furniture people, electricians, architects, movers, employees, you name it. Got it all done, flawlessly as I am told. This has been months in the making, during the month of March I was walking Max at 5:00 AM in 20F weather in my pajamas, sleep was a luxury I could not afford. In the midst of all this I had to plan our annual sales summit which is in early May (5/1 this year) and our new office opening party for over 100 people which took place this last Friday.

It's been a looooooong 5 months but well worth it. I finally took the road less traveled and it has made all the difference, I have found my vocation.

A lot of things have suffered, my housecleaning, laundry, my gardening but never this,

I know my priorities!

Thank you for indulging me.

By the way, all those ad agencies that wouldn't talk to don't know what you missed!!!!!!!


  1. Oh Amelia, I'm delighted that you've found a place where your interests and talents are put to work, and you are appreciated. Congratulations--that was a huge project! Thanks for sharing this--I can relate to a lot of it.

  2. Interesting story. It's nice you've found a place that you enjoy working and a workplace that appreciates you. I know SO many people that hate their jobs. It's funny how professional life works. I know few people that are working in the field for which they were educated. And those who do, don't find their work fulfilling. I think it's one of life's cruelest jokes to have to decide what we want "to be" when we're 16 years old. What the hell do we know at 16?

    I'm in a position where I have to hire a person for a major position at my company. It's such a specific industry that I'll never find anyone with experience in the field. I almost want to place an ad that says, "don't send me your resume, write me letter and tell me who you are." I need to find someone like you.