Four years ago today, I started my job at a new company in Philadelphia. I had just moved to the area from my parents' house in Queensbury and was on my own for the first time since college, living in a new place, knowing barely anyone, with no clear idea what I was going to be doing or even how to survive successfully in the real world. I was barely 25, eager to employ my skills from college but I wasn't altogether sure what those were. I knew I was smart, but I didn't know just how to apply myself. I took a chance coming here, starting this new job, venturing out into the world. I took a chance, but it turned out to be a good one.
The company, back then, was called FD kinesis. We were a small marketing firm that had been acquired by a larger parent company, but the spirit of Kinesis Marketing still held strong. The five founders, all with unique personalities and charm, all had their specialties and had hired people to manage accounts and run different facets of the business. It was interesting to me to learn everyone's style and skills. I loved the days when we would all gather for a meeting or a party in New Jersey or Philadelphia, and I'd get to mingle with my colleagues from Morristown and New York. I felt so cosmopolitan, walking down to Old City for happy hours where mussels were served. I had never even had a mussel before I set foot in Philly. My eyes were being opened up to new parts of the world.
My job came with challenges. I had work and lots of it. And instead of answering to a boss, or several layers of bosses when work was piling up, I was answering directly to clients. These were very demanding clients, many of them, who all wanted things the next day or the same day, all at once, none of them knowing about the others. At my previous job, I had learned to manage my time in chunks, going methodically, quickly and accurately through monotonous work. But now, I was trying to get a grasp on new work, learn how to do it, communicate and build relationships with dozens of clients, attend meetings, as well as turn things around quickly and accurately. It was a lot to handle. I once reached out to my coworker across the room over IM, asking "What do you do when everyone wants things from you at once?" He suggested saying no. I hadn't even considered it.
Over time, I learned to temper my feelings of stress and manage my time and the clients. I found I enjoyed balancing all the different moving parts. I got good at it. I may have gotten too good at it. Because somewhere down the line, I got bored. My boss had changed a few times since I had come to the company, first FD kinesis, then FD, now FTI Consulting. And the latest boss suggested I take a look around me at what others were doing. Look into new avenues at the company. Talk to the people around me and find something I could be interested in pursuing as well or instead as a next career move.
I looked into information architecture, HTML, social media and then...I found writing. The creative team at FTI is pretty robust, but full of mostly designers. There are two writers, one of them a managing director, who when I expressed interest - excitement, delight, ecstatic joy - welcomed me with open arms. It had been almost three and a half years since I began my journey at FTI, but I finally felt like I found the reason I'm here. I had spent the past years building my skills, my confidence and my finesse with clients and colleagues and now was my chance to shine.
It's been over six months since I was welcomed by the creative team. I still do the job I was hired to do four years ago. But I am taking steps in a new direction. I'm writing each and every day, honing my editing skills, my eye for detail and my ear my voice and tone. I feel like I've learned so much even in the short time I've been doing this. It makes me wonder what I could learn in a year. Or three years.
My time in Philadelphia and at FTI has only been a small part of my life so far, and I've got a long way to go. But what I've learned since I began here four years ago has amounted to the great things that can be achieved when you take risks and work hard. Don't ever be afraid of the unknown. It's where your future is waiting.