What did I just do?
I looked down at the lease and felt my stomach tie itself in about 35 knots as Greg sped through some logistics. They had bought me some time by letting me move in two weeks before the lease started, and tomorrow was move-in day.
I flipped through the papers as he continued to talk to me. He took two keys off of his key ring and handed them over.
“Congratulations,” he said.
I looked down in my right hand and put the other on the table to make sure that I didn’t add to the confused look on my face when while I struggled to get a “Thank You” out.
I just signed a one year lease for an apartment that I can’t afford.
That was two weeks ago.
Today marks the last 25 days of my undergraduate degree. 25 days until graduation, 25 days until my parents and two siblings come to stay with me in my one-person studio, and 25 days until the next payment on my lease is due.
I have 25 days to begin my professional career in advertising; I have 25 days to get my shit together.
In all senses.
I have spent the last ten months interning at an agency on Madison Avenue, passed between insights and strategy, and running a workload somewhere between intern and junior-level status.
But it all comes to an end in these next couple of weeks.
“The talk” has happened – the idea of becoming a full-time hire has been planted in the appropriate heads and now the active waiting period ensues.
“Actively waiting” means searching for other jobs that I am not even sure I know I want, while at the same time weighing options that don’t yet exist. This is the first time in my life that I have to be confident in the unexpected, and confident in not being prepared enough for what I am getting myself into:
A lifetime of learning.
So what now?
I wake up five-to-six times a night. It used to be from anxiety – now it’s because I can’t get my mind to turn off. Ideas flow in between dreams of working on multi-million dollar accounts and content creation.
It is no longer about landing the dream job anymore.
It’s about what I can do on my own accountability to make sure that I am in the best position to continue applying what I have learned inside the walls of a design institute to what I will continue to learn in the advertising arena.
Here is to every hunch, every lead, any contacts made, critiques received, LinkedIn job posting applied to, final presentations, portfolio drafts, every InDesign margin adjustment, late-night title kerning, tweet, handshake, informational meeting, caffeine headache, and blog post that leads to my new beginning in these next 25 days.
I will take them in stride – both the days and the learnings – and I invite you to watch.
Maybe you’re just like me, wondering at ground level if taking a bite out of this great Big Apple – and everything else that comes with it – is simply too hard to chew.
And maybe you’re just smiling – having already logged your “first/final 25 days” – trying hard not to chuckle too hard from that great big corner office with a view.