I imagined graduation to be the best day of my life. I would walk across the stage and immediately after grabbing my diploma, the doors of success would fly open and I would be presented the opportunity at a career I love, and I would be on the way to making my dreams come true.
Instead, I grabbed my diploma, slipped on ice walking to the car in 6-degree weather, went to Olive Garden, ate all the breadsticks, and then took a nap.
This was it - this was post grad life.
I moved home and was prepared for those doors to fly open any minute. Well, they didn't. And to be honest, they didn't until five months after graduation (but we'll get to that later). I had so romanticized the idea of graduating that I forgot how stressful it actually is. All I've known, my entire life, is school. Get good grades to get in Advanced Placement classes. Pass those tests to get college credit. Study hard to get into a good school. Work hard in college to make the Dean's List. Then what? I truly didn't know. I really thought that I would be prepared for all that life would throw at me during the months following graduation, but I was so wrong.
I remembered seeing people that I knew who were older move home after graduation and I would judge them. I thought, "How lazy to not get a job right out of college - that's just what you're supposed to do! I can't believe they're living with their parents, how embarrassing." Then, suddenly, without warning, I was that college grad living at her mom's house.
The truth is, getting a job right out of college is not easy. There is no shame in needing help, and those of us who were lucky enough to have parents that re-opened their homes to us long after we left the nest is a blessing in itself. But, living at home is brutal. After two months, I started looking at jobs outside of Los Angeles. You see, I had all these dreams to move back home to LA County and get a job in a company that I could move up and eventually be the Head of Marketing. What can I say, I dream big. But, those companies I wanted, Snapchat, Instagram, Spotify... well they didn't want me. Specifically, they didn't want anyone with less than five years experience. So I had to look elsewhere. And then, it happened. The doors of success flew open (or so I thought) and I got a job.
The week before I started my job was insane. For one, I was moving back to the state that I just moved out of (so that's frustrating). I had to rent an apartment, buy a car, and figure out how to navigate life on my own. Five days later, I packed up everything I could fit into my new Honda Civic, grabbed my dog, and left.
This was it - this was the beginning.
My first week of work was a whirlwind. I got a new shirt for philanthropy events, a gift card to one of our client's restaurants, and business cards. #Adulting
I knew the honeymoon phase of a new job would wear off but I just didn't expect it to wear off so soon. After about three weeks, I no longer wanted to wake up to go to work and when I got home, I would lay in my bed and stare at the ceiling for hours because I couldn't do anything else. I had no energy - I was emotionally and physically drained. I found myself cancelling plans, eating junk food, crying (a lot), and being anxious about the next day at work. My life became nothing more than a timeline. Once I get home from work, I have 15 hours until I have to be back at work. Subtract 30 minutes for walking the dog, 30 minutes for a shower, 25 minutes for dinner, an hour for a mental breakdown, 45 minutes for Grey's Anatomy, and so on and so forth. My life was nothing but a countdown to the next weekend, next day off, next doctor's appointment so I could take a half day.
I remember thinking, "Is this going to feel like this forever?" I finally decided to talk to my boss about it. I told him that I am a very creative person and that I wasn't being able to exercise that part of me in the workplace, and that it was starting to affect me. There was talk about seeing what was available in the more creative positions in the office - I left that meeting feeling good.
A week later, one of the executives pulls me into the office to chat and when I walk in, I see my boss is already sitting. I was immediately pale white and nervous; I really hate confrontation. This is how the conversation went:
Them: "So we talked and we want you to be in a position that you love and doing work that makes you want to come to work every day."
Me: *internally* They must have found something creative for me to do, how exciting!!!!
Them: "So you will have this position until it's filled."
So, that's the story of how I was voluntarily fired? Forced to quit? I don't know how to explain it. Looking back, I still don't know how to explain what happened. I left the meeting, went into the stairwell, and cried. I didn't know what just happened, and I didn't know what to do. I just knew it was time to get my shit together.